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How modern IAM solutions help states reduce IT operating costs, improve security

As state officials look to provide a smoother experience in delivering citizen services online, the need to centrally manage user identity and access controls is playing a larger and more important role behind the scenes.

States that standardize citizen experience across a wide array of state services — taking advantage of modern identity and access management (IAM) solutions — not only improve users’ experience. They also can reduce government IT operating costs and improve security, says Tommy Cathey, regional vice president for public sector sales at ForgeRock, in a new StateScoop podcast, underwritten by ForgeRock.

Cathey cites, for example, how the states of Utah and Texas both are making significant advances in consolidating back-end operations and improving services of online accounts, using an open IAM platform

Ben Goodman, senior vice president, global business and corporate development for ForgeRock, joins Cathey in explaining why an IAM solution, built on a scalable and open standards framework, can help states better connect user profiles across disparate systems while also providing more granular access controls and security. Among other highlights from the podcast:

States already benefit from IAM platforms built on open standards

“We are seeing the emergence now of really powerful, really open and scalable platforms. And what these open platforms allow us is to address a really wide range of use cases that may exist inside of a state, like the state of Utah. And will allow a singular platform now to talk to all the different applications and services that the government may want to offer to their citizens,” Goodman says.

“The state of Texas offers a good example of how a state is managing a single sign-on for its citizens. … Historically, they had a website called Texas.gov, and it just had links to disparate systems. The goal was to create a citizen account for each person to access those services from that website. Services such as driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and hunting licenses. While those services are really important to citizens, they are equally important to the state because they generate revenue,” Cathey says.

How do modern IAM solutions improve security

“States are managing online services and applications and they’re modernizing legacy applications. In many cases each state agency has its own set of identity and access applications. … That makes it time consuming and costly to keep up-to-date. It creates pockets that hackers can exploit because it’s different types of systems that they can hack into. Having a single, comprehensive IAM solution, standardizes and streamlines identity and access management,” Cathey explains.

How can states start implementing an IAM solution

“Recognize that state agencies […] are not going to be able to flip a switch and go live with IAM technology. The really smart thing to do is think small, think in terms of quantifiable values that you can deliver to the organization or to the state quickly and get those quick wins. Then build up from there,” says Ben Goodman.

Also included in the conversation:

  • What state agencies can learn from nongovernmental organizations that also implemented a large-scale IAM solution.
  • Top tips for CIOs to make sure they are getting the most from their investments.
  • Recommendations for CIOs to make sure they are getting buy-in to implement their projects.

Listen to the podcast for the full conversation on improving IT operations with enterprise IAM. You can hear more coverage of “IT modernization in government” on our StateScoop radio channels on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and TuneIn.

This podcast was produced by StateScoop and underwritten by ForgeRock.