Identity challenges for the modern business

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft Azure

As digital transformation continues to take hold, and with businesses moving ever more services and applications to the cloud, the need for organisations to examine the issues surrounding identity and access becomes increasingly imperative.

Businesses are moving to the cloud for a variety of reasons, including to reduce costs – infrastructure associated in particular – and to take advantage of the enhanced features offered by the proliferation of cloud products. They don’t, therefore, want to counterbalance these benefits with costly IT work-arounds to meet identity and access requirements. Neither do they want to restrict access to these applications and thereby limit efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. Identity issues should certainly not prevent a business from implementing a solution and again adversely impact business performance.

In addition, few businesses today don’t have a mobile workforce. No matter how small the company, employees need the ability to work anywhere, at any time, from any device – and need to. Not only does this enhance productivity, denying the capability will have the opposite effect, and again impact competitivity.  

If restricted on accessing applications via personal devices many employees resort to ad hoc arrangements, hard for IT to monitor and manage – and that can give rise to security risk.

Overall, ensuring the business’ security must be the overriding priority – and in today’s competitive economic environment – organisations need to meet all of the demands above while ensuring security is not compromised.

Where applications involve individual sign-in processes – and particularly when requiring separate identity stores – the IT department may have to provision access individually for each user. And where IT is involved with high levels of identity and access management, they have less time for provisioning the solutions and products that bring value to the organisation and help them keep on track with product development, customer service, and ultimately with profit and the bottom line. Time-consuming, individual access provision can also be a slow process and inhibit initial use, especially if triggered by manual request.

An organization will also have times when access requires to be granted external to an organization, and without revisiting existing identity protocols and management, IT staff may be unable to meet this request, and thereby limiting opportunities for interaction, communication and collaboration with customers, partners, and other third parties vital to ongoing business.

In fact, without effective and robust identity management a business loses faith in themselves and their ability to prevent violations of privacy, security and confidentiality – and in their ability to rectify breaches – and which would affect also compliance with regulatory requirements and be costly.

A summary of some of the benefits arising from updating identity management and moving to central management and control includes:

  • For the IT department, less cost and time associated with onboarding new users, and more time and resource available for value-add products
  • For employees, less lead-time in accessing new resources
  • Promotion of the consistent application – and observance – of security policies
  • Enhanced security

Crucially, organisations also need identity and access management solutions to support cloud-based and on-premise resources.

Cobweb is about to launch their Microsoft Azure-based identity and access management solution to help organisations resolve these issues.

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