N8 Identity Inc.

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February 4, 2019 Issue



N8 Identity is Transforming Identity Governance with Its AI-Driven Solution, TheAccessHub



Jay O’Donnell

Chief Executive Officer


N8 Identity Inc.



Jay O’Donnell



Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – February 4, 2019


CEOCFO: Mr. O’Donnell, would you tell us about N8 Identity?

Mr. O’Donnell: Our company offers professional services, managed services, and a series of products, all within the identity and access management/governance space. Essentially, we help organizations put locks on all of their information assets and enable them with tools to ensure only the right people have the right keys to those information assets.


Within professional services, not only do we provide services around our own products, we also provide services around other vendor products including those from Microsoft, CA, Oracle etc. In addition, we support our customers with a broad range of needs including road mapping, strategic direction, technology architecture, and business process definition. From a managed services perspective, we focus on the experience after initial implementation, ensuring customers are able to successfully maintain and operate their identity and access governance platform. Customers generally have difficulty operationalizing these platforms due to skill shortage. Most of these technologies require heavy customization to make them do what the customer wants them to do. This is where they come to N8 Identity and have us manage these platforms on their behalf. Essentially, N8 becomes a logical extension of their team. We are really excited about our product side of the business. Our flagship product, TheAccessHub, is going to be disruptive in the identity governance space, and we are already seeing significant traction in the market. TheAccessHub is a fully SaaS-based offering that integrates natively with Microsoft Azure and Office365 and allows organizations to manage identities in the cloud, on-premise or any hybrid combination. We are extensively using Artifical Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to eliminate a lot of the historical challenges that have plagued identity and access governance.


CEOCFO: There are so many directions to go in security, identity and governance. How do you know where to start with a client?

Mr. O’Donnell: There is no right or wrong answer to that. It comes down to customer need. Some customers, especially if they have had an enterprise audit, will often be faced with gaps that need to be remediated with identity and access governance solutions. A big one that we see all the time is the need for access certification or attestation. This is the process of periodically reviewing employee, contractor, vendor, customer, etc. access to ensure correctness. Other organizations may want to streamline and automate business processes first. This includes incorporating access request management and provisioning into their onboarding and off-boarding process to drive efficiency. Regardless of how they choose to start, these things will have a dramatic impact on an organization’s security posture.


When we kick off an initiative, we conduct an assessment early in the process to understand what the key pain points are. We then construct our implementation approach based on that need while heading toward the long-range goals. Identity and access management is like building a layer cake. The goal is to deliver incremental value to the organization one step at a time. Companies that try to do everything all at once will typically fail in their initiatives. The beauty of TheAccessHub is that it allows organizations to accomplish this much faster and more easily than ever before.


CEOCFO: Do businesses understand that concept or do you need to get them to understand that it is the best way?

Mr. O’Donnell: Some organizations opt for the incremental approach right away. Other organizations ask why they can’t do it all at once. Every customer is different. For the most part, once we present the benefits - both immediate and long term - and outline how this approach does not lengthen the process and in fact saves them time, they usually come around. Again, with TheAccessHub, the project risk is significantly reduced because organizations don't have to write a ton of custom code to make it work – it’s point and click.


CEOCFO: Who is turning to you for help? Are there specific industries or verticals?

Mr. O’Donnell: Identity and access management is very much horizontal, so it is not necessarily different for each industry. We have customers across multiple verticals: in financial services, manufacturing, retail, government, healthcare, insurance etc. However, there are specific needs within some of those verticals that are relevant and unique, for example, healthcare. Healthcare has some specific regulatory compliance requirements, namely HIPAA. So, in these cases, the implementation has to address industry-specific requirements to some degree. Another area that we are seeing significant interest is not necessarily a vertical but umbrella-based regulation like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, or the newly passed California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These regulations govern consumer privacy which is a core use case of identity governance.


From an organization size perspective, historically, the only organizations that have been able to afford technologies like this have been large enterprises. We have done implementations upward of 80 million users. Our largest customer has 200,000 employees.


Legacy products are more like tool kits that require a lot of customization and coding to get them to do what the customer needs them to do. 99 percent of the products in the market today fit into that mold. That’s changing because new technologies like TheAccessHub are cloud-based and provide an enterprise-class functionality out of the box and can be delivered in weeks rather than a year or more. This is a creating an opportunity for SMBs to implement identity governance solutions for the first time.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about TheAccessHub ?

Mr. O’Donnell: TheAccessHub is an exciting departure from traditional identity governance products. Not only does it provide enterprise-class functionality out of the box, it heavily leverages AI and machine learning to address or eliminate many of the historical challenges associated with identity governance. This is in support of our overall vision of Autonomous Identity Governance. The Autonomous Identity Governance vision is replacing manually routine tasks with AI and machine learning. Not only does this drive efficiency, but it dramatically improves the security posture of an organization by providing guidance and insights to non-technical business users, enabling them to make better choices around user access. In addition, TheAccessHub is able to highlight access anomalies inside an organization, something that has historically been hidden to organizations until it’s too late.


There are also a number of other features that make TheAccessHub more attractive not only to small and medium-sized businesses but also to the enterprise. TheAccessHub is a business solution, not a tool kit. Organizations can be up and functioning within a matter of days or weeks with no need to write custom code. Another key benefit is that TheAccessHub is a fully cloud-based SaaS solution that can run on Azure, AWS or any other cloud platform.


The solution also includes identity analytics and reporting, with the target of understanding in real-time, in one click, who has access to what within the organization across all systems, as well as analytics so that organizations can understand their risk posture.


The critical ability to perform access certification campaigns allows organizations to periodically review people’s access to make sure that it’s correct and audited. With TheAccessHub, these certification campaigns can be done very rapidly and can co-exist with any technologies already in use. With access certification, organizations have clear visibility into who has access to what, and what access was certified - by whom, and when. This significantly improves audit-readiness.


CEOCFO: How do you help a company ensure that when someone leaves, their access is gone, and they are no longer allowed into the system?

Mr. O’Donnell: We integrate with virtually any HR system that the customer has, whether they use PeopleSoft, WorkDay, SAP, or some other software, when they off-board the employee inside the HR system, that system can then make a call to TheAccessHub to trigger the off-boarding process. As part of that process, there are a bunch of checks and balances that provide the automatic ability to revoke all the access that the employee had. That virtually eliminates situations where “Bob” forgot to disable access, leaving a terminated employee with access to intellectual property or company systems after they’ve left the organization. As an extension of this, TheAccessHub has powerful system sync capabilities that allow organizations to monitor these tasks to ensure that they are completed.


CEOCFO: What are some of the areas that companies do not recognize as problematic that you are able to help with, or maybe point out to them?

Mr. O’Donnell: There are important keys to identity governance, the first being visibility into who has access and what they have access to from a single console. Right now, in many organizations, each one of these applications is essentially separate. That means that in order for me to understand what a given person has access to, I have to go to every single one of those systems to see if they have an ID on those systems, and then what roles that person has on each one of those systems. We provide that ability in one single place.


In addition, TheAccessHub’s unique AI and machine learning identifies access anomalies that are virtually impossible to detect with current technologies. This capability is very powerful, providing organizations with visibility to security exposures in the shadows.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the 2018 Cyber Defense Global Awards, where N8 was honored for your Next Gen Identity Management?

Mr. O’Donnell: We are very excited about it. This is our second award and we expect to have many more over the next year because we have something that is truly compelling. That publication does a pretty exhaustive global search to find new technologies like TheAccessHub and highlight those in the industry. We are excited about gaining recognition for doing things that are groundbreaking and new in the industry.


I think one of the determining factors for them was our use of AI in the product. This capability is unique in the marketplace. Our whole vision is Autonomous Identity Governance. What that means is, like self-driving automobiles, identity governance is becoming more autonomous, where it has historically been very manual, but through artificial intelligence we enable your identity governance system to drive itself. Here’s an example of how that works: if our AI module determines that the assurance level is 97 percent or greater that a person should have a given role or access to a system. TheAccessHub can either provide that guidance to a business manager or, in the future, automatically grant that access based on the organization’s confidence-level settings. Another example may be in the case of an access certification for a colleague. If the likelihood that a person should have a given access is low through peer analysis, then we highlight those concerns for the certifier to ensure that they have a second look. The access may be the correct level for that individual, but we are providing technology that helps business managers make better choice and minimizes human error.


CEOCFO: How do you reach out to let people know you might be a good choice?

Mr. O’Donnell: We are marketing across channels, as well as getting the word out through our partner network. One of our largest partners is Microsoft, and we are working closely with them to build out a go-to-market strategy. Those channels are very important to us. A lot of our business has come from word of mouth to this point, through existing customers that refer us to other organizations.


CEOCFO: Why is N8 Identity an important company?

Mr. O’Donnell: For starters, we have been in this space since before it was even a space. We have been in business doing identity and access management exclusively for the last 18-plus years and have taken all that we’ve learned by listening to our customers over that time and baked it into TheAccessHub. Our extensive use of AI and machine learning addresses most of the underlying problems with identity governance. We are innovators, and we’re fixing those problems with our Autonomous Identity Governance vision and TheAccessHub. This is redefining the future of identity governance.


CEOCFO: What if anything might someone miss when they first look at N8 Identity?

Mr. O’Donnell: They might miss the speed at which we can deploy TheAccessHub. Time to value is key. For example, one of our customers needed to upgrade a competing product. The upgrade project is 18 months long and there is a significant amount of business frustration because of this. Customers using TheAccessHub do not need to upgrade ever because we are cloud-based, and the upgrades happen automatically. This significantly drives down cost and dramatically Improves IT responsiveness to the business.


In another instance, a customer was trying to implement access certification/attestation with a competing vendor's product. It took them six months to deploy due to the amount of custom code they were required to write and the legacy technology they were using. Even then, they had to manage their access certification campaign process using numerous Excel spreadsheets. We were able to do the same thing with them in one day – with no spreadsheets.


In addition to security, being agile is critical because reorganizations, acquisitions or divestments occur so frequently. If your identity governance platform is based on old, monolithic technology, it impedes the business. TheAccessHub significantly improves your security posture, while allowing you to move ahead of your competitors.  



“We have been in business doing identity and access management exclusively for the last 18-plus years and have taken all that we’ve learned by listening to our customers over that time and baked it into TheAccessHub. Our extensive use of AI and machine learning addresses most of the underlying problems with identity governance. We are innovators, and we’re fixing those problems with our Autonomous Identity Governance vision and TheAccessHub. This is redefining the future of identity governance.”- Jay O’Donnell


N8 Identity Inc.



Jay O’Donnell








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