We all know that the enterprise cloud revolution is here. As more and more businesses across the globe, regardless of industry and size, move from on-premises software to on-demand, cloud-based services controlling who has access to which applications becomes increasingly important.
This makes identity and access management (IAM) exceptionally important for CIOs and their IT teams and presents these business leaders with a whole new set of identity management challenges.
So, what exactly is IAM anyway? According to Jim Ducharme, RSA’s VP of Identity Products, IAM encompasses all of the processes and technologies that make it possible to efficiently and accurately deliver secure access to authorised users to certain the systems, apps and data at any time and from any device.
The importance of IAM is that it enables CIOs and IT managers to keep tabs on an organisation’s entire IT infrastructure – monitoring who has access to what, what they can do with that access, assessing if their level of access matches their relationship with the organisation and to understand what security and compliance risks exist related to user access.
IAM in the cloud – challenges galore
As businesses increasingly rely on agile systems to adapt to new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities, speed is of the essence. However, on the other end of the spectrum, the demand for this on-demand access presents some very real access management and security issues.
For businesses to successfully deploy a robust IAM solution, they must first overcome these five key challenges:
#1 Minimising user password fatigue
When each application has different password requirements and expiration cycles, it’s quite common for users to get confused. And frustrated by the fact that the constantly have to reset, remember and manage the access control to all of these different applications. This also opens up businesses to various security risks as users react to “password fatigue” by using obvious or reused passwords over and over again.
#2 Noting who has access to what?
To ensure that business data is kept secure, it’s important to understand who has access to what apps or what data, where they’re accessing it and what they’re doing with it. This is particularly true when it comes to cloud services. If an employee resigns or is promoted, their level of access needs to be adjusted. With the right IAM controls in place, businesses can achieve greater visibility and monitor access via a central platform.
#3 Avoiding siloed user directories
As many enterprises make large investments in corporate directories to manage access to on-premises resources, these precautions need to be extended to the cloud. A comprehensive IAM solution should provide centralised, out-of-the-box integration into these directories so that these can extend to new applications. This makes it simpler to add or remove users from a directory and modify access controls automatically.
#4 Managing access across an influx of browsers and devices
One of the greatest benefits of cloud apps is that employees can access business apps and data from any device and from any location. But all of these new mobile technologies introduce more access points that businesses need to manage, monitor and support. With the right IAM solution, users can access whatever they need to get their job done without compromising security.
#5 Keeping app integrations up-to-date
Most organisations lack the IT capabilities to maintain their own collection of “connectors” across a constantly changing landscape of apps and solutions. And with regular updates and changes to different apps and platforms, keeping up with new versions of each application can prove challenging. A good cloud-based IAM solution will automatically keep up all updates and changes and ensure that application integration, and thus access, is always up to date and functional. This makes adding a new app to your network as easy as adding a new app to your smartphone.
As part of our Digitalisation Platform, we help businesses with everything from Identity Management to System Integration. Our solutions make it easier to gain access to apps, to integrate data from multiple platforms, control who is exposed to what information and manage an influx in access points. If you want a helping hand on your journey to digitalisation success, we’re the partners you need.