Safeguarding Access to Everything that Matters

Safeguarding Access to Everything that Matters

Our IT Executive Roundtables are invite-only events hosted by peers for peers that bring together a select group of senior IT leaders from across industries for topic-driven, intimate dialog on current trends and topics. The group met remotely to discuss safeguarding everything that matters led by the Chief Security and Data Officer for a leading supplier of engineering to the aerospace industry. This Session was sponsored by Okta.

March 15, 2024

The Virtual Executive Roundtable discussion, focused on identity and access management, offered a profound exploration into the nuances of safeguarding critical data and ensuring robust access control mechanisms in the technology industry. This executive summary expands on the four key takeaways, highlighting the strategies, challenges, and insights shared by participants across various sectors, including banking, government, education, and more.


  1. Zero Trust is a Journey: Implementing a zero trust framework is a continuous process, requiring periodic reassessment and incorporation of new security measures.
  2. Multifaceted Identity and Access Management: Effective management involves not just technological solutions but also strong policies, user education, and collaboration across departments.
  3. Regulatory Changes and Breaches Drive Strategy: Major regulatory changes and the occurrence of breaches significantly influence the enhancement of security measures and investment in new technologies.
  4. The Importance of Vendor Interoperability and Support: The selection and implementation of security technologies require careful consideration of interoperability and vendor support to avoid integration challenges.

Zero Trust is a Journey

The evolution of the zero trust framework was a central theme, underscoring its role as a continuous, iterative process rather than a one-time implementation. Participants emphasized the necessity of reassessing and refining security measures periodically, incorporating new technologies, and adapting to emerging threats. This approach requires a dynamic and flexible strategy that can evolve with the changing landscape of cybersecurity threats and technological advancements. The discussion revealed a consensus on the importance of building a zero trust architecture that supports the secure and efficient operation of businesses, protecting against both external and internal threats.

The journey towards zero trust also involves educating and aligning all organizational stakeholders with the security vision. This includes not just IT and security teams but also business units, human resources, and legal departments. Ensuring that every part of the organization understands and contributes to the zero trust strategy is crucial for its success. This journey entails a shift from traditional network perimeter defenses to a more holistic, identity-centric security model that considers the complexities of modern digital environments.

Multifaceted Identity and Access Management

For technology leaders, effective identity and access management can be a multifaceted challenge that extends beyond the deployment of technology solutions. It encompasses the development of strong policies, ongoing user education, and the fostering of collaboration across departments. Attendees highlighted how organizations are navigating the balance between securing access to critical systems and data while also enabling business operations and innovation. This balance is key to ensuring that security measures do not impede organizational agility and user productivity.

The integration of machine identities alongside human identities was highlighted as an area of increasing focus. This reflects a broadening understanding of what constitutes an 'identity' within organizational networks and the need for comprehensive management strategies that encompass both. Strategies some attendees have implemented for managing the lifecycle of identities include provisioning, monitoring, and de-provisioning to ensure that access rights are aligned with current roles and responsibilities.

Regulatory Changes and Breaches Drive Strategy

"Never let a good disaster go to waste."

Regulatory changes and data breaches significantly influence the direction and urgency of security strategies. The attendees agreed that such events often serve as catalysts for increased security investments and the rapid adoption of new technologies. Organizations are compelled to enhance their security postures not to comply with regulatory requirements and to mitigate the risks and potential impacts of data breaches. This dynamic underscores the importance of maintaining agility in security strategies to respond to new regulations and emerging threats quickly.

The participants shared insights into how learning from breaches, both within and outside their organizations, has informed their approaches to security. The adaptation of security strategies in response to real-world incidents highlights the reactive nature of much of cybersecurity management. However, there is a growing recognition of the need for a more proactive approach that anticipates potential threats and vulnerabilities before they are exploited.

The Importance of Vendor Interoperability and Support

Choosing and implementing security technologies is a complex process that requires careful consideration of interoperability and vendor support. The discussion highlighted the challenges organizations face when integrating new security solutions with existing systems. The importance of selecting vendors that not only provide robust security solutions but also offer strong support and a clear commitment to interoperability was emphasized. This is critical for creating a cohesive security ecosystem that can adapt and scale with the needs of the organization.

Participants shared experiences of navigating vendor landscapes, highlighting the value of partnerships that extend beyond the initial purchase to include ongoing support, education, and collaboration. These relationships are vital for ensuring that security technologies continue to meet organizational needs over time. Additionally, the growing trend of seeking vendors can offer comprehensive solutions across multiple facets of security, reducing the complexity and potential gaps in the security posture.

Polling our Attendees

The polling conducted during the roundtable highlighted key concerns and insights into the current state of access control and identity management across organizations. For the first poll on access control challenges, there was an even split, with 50% of attendees identifying unauthorized access, insider threats, and third-party access risks as their top concerns, underscoring the multifaceted nature of security vulnerabilities they face. Less prevalent but still noteworthy were concerns over weak password policies, inadequate authentication methods, and data encryption practices, each cited by approximately 20% of participants.

access control challenges and identity maturity

The second poll highlighted the attendees' self-assessment of their identity management maturity, revealing that a majority (54%) consider their organizations to have an established identity practice. However, only 15% classified themselves as being at an advanced stage, incorporating automation, artificial intelligence, and zero-trust principles, while a significant portion (31%) are still at the basic awareness stage with tools and policies implemented. Remarkably, none of the organizations considered themselves industry-leading in identity management, indicating a general perception of the need for ongoing improvement and development in this critical area of cybersecurity.


In conclusion, the Virtual Executive Roundtable offered invaluable insights into the current state and future direction of identity and access management within the technology industry. The discussions underscored the importance of adopting a holistic, adaptive approach to security that encompasses zero trust principles, multifaceted identity management strategies, and the effective management of regulatory and breach-driven changes. Moreover, the emphasis on vendor interoperability and support highlighted the collaborative nature of achieving robust security in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Interested in furthering these discussions and contributing to safeguarding access and other trending topics in technology? Reach out about joining our next Executive Roundtable.

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