Controlling the Cloud: Identity Access Management for the Hybrid Enterprise
Over the last decade, enterprises everywhere have embraced cloud applications like Salesforce, NetSuite, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Workday, and SuccessFactors, to name a few. In doing so, they’ve successfully shrunk their IT infrastructure, lowered their total cost of ownership, and made it possible for employees to get work done from anywhere, at any time. However, this change hasn’t come easily. IT departments are still tasked with managing all of their on-premises apps and infrastructure; only now it’s more difficult because they lack a single view of all users, apps, and devices. Thankfully, with new challenges come new solutions. Using an effective Identity and Access Management (IAM) platform, companies can avoid the obstacles that have been created by emerging cloud and mobile technologies, while at the same time preparing themselves to meet the next wave of innovation. Below, we’ll explore some of the noteworthy benefits of using an IAM platform and provide examples of organizational pain points which can be rectified using identity access management.
Control Who Has Access – and WhenControlling who has access to which applications becomes a real challenge when users can gain access from any browser, at any time, no matter where they are. This situation is exacerbated with the cloud, as IT is rarely involved in the purchasing process and must therefore apply a purely reactive approach to securing newly-added applications. By establishing one digital identity and credential per user, an IAM platform puts IT back in control—while simultaneously adding ease of use and a critical layer of security.
Prevent Password FatigueVisit any organization that has adopted a reasonable number of cloud apps, and you will find people suffering from password fatigue. Not only must users remember a constantly changing set of passwords, but each cloud app has different password requirements. To lessen the burden, people resort to obvious passwords, sticky notes, and spreadsheets—all potential invitations to an outsider seeking to breach the network. An IAM platform puts fatigue to rest by allowing users to access any app with a single set of credentials.
Enable Collaborative AdministrationEach cloud application has a unique administration model that can create friction between the business, which needs to customize and manage the app to respond to changing needs, and IT, which is responsible for identity and access management across the entire organization. IAM solves this problem by managing users, apps, and devices from a single, integrated platform. Meanwhile, the business gets the control they need for seamless continuity.
Drive ROI & Manage ComplianceTo calculate the ROI of cloud apps, IT must understand how the apps are being used and compare this data to what the business is currently paying for. And depending on the industry and specific circumstances around an engagement, IT must also constantly monitor and control which users have access to certain cloud applications to comply with governmental regulations. An IAM platform makes it easy to track usage, but it also puts apps and data behind a compliance wall.
Do You Need IAM?The following examples are precisely what IAM platforms are designed to mitigate. Even if only one of these symptoms applies to your organization, you would likely benefit from a comprehensive IAM platform:
- Use the same password for multiple applications
- Use spreadsheets or sticky notes to manage passwords
- Can access company data after separation
- Regularly forget usernames and passwords
- Share and/or never change passwords for a variety of applications
- Is burdened with password-related support
- Has limited or zero insight into application usage and security
- Cannot enforce security policies in the cloud
- Lacks proper reporting tools to ensure compliance
- Struggles when integrating your directory infrastructure with the cloud