RSAC Fireside Chat: Reinforcing ‘Identity and Access Management’ to expose ‘shadow access’

By Byron V. Acohido

The world of Identity and Access Management (IAM) is rapidly evolving.

Related: Stopping IAM threats

IAM began 25 years ago as a method to systematically grant human users access to company IT assets. Today, a “user” most often is a snippet of code seeking access at the cloud edge.

At the RSAC Conference 2023, I sat down with Venkat Raghavan, founder and CEO of start-up Stack Identity. As Raghavan explained, the rapid growth of data and subsequent application development in the cloud has led to a sprawling array of identities and access points. This, he warned, has created a new problem: shadow access.

Shadow access refers to ungoverned and unauthorized access that arises due to the speed and automation of cloud deployment.For a drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

Guest expert: Venkat Raghavan, CEO, Stack Identity

Stack Identity’s solution quickly onboards a customer’s cloud accounts, methodically identifies potential pathways to data and comprehensively assesses risk. Once all human and non-human access points are identified, automated remediation kicks in to eliminate shadow access.

Notably, this process happens at runtime, watching access in real-time, and looking at how access is utilized, Raghavan told me. “We have seen that in live customer environments that over 50 percent of identities are over-permissioned and should have access permissions revoked,” he says.”This represents a substantial risk for companies.”

This risk is material; just ask Capital One or LastPass. Here’s another example of directing ML and automation at shrinking the attack surface. Stack Identity emerged from stealth just last month with $4 million in seed funding. I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.


Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(LW provides consulting services to the vendors we cover.)

May 31st, 2023