The new approach to identity management

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft Azure

The business world is changing.

The proliferation of apps and functionality means that any organization – from SMB to major enterprise – has the tools to enhance internal processes, boost productivity, and improve communication and collaboration.

As a result, security and identity management practices have had to change. At the turn of the decade, an organization’s identity policy needed to encompass protection for assets within the precisely defined perimeter of the organization itself. The IT department could incorporate firewalls, scanning, intrusion detection software, etc., to create an effective identity management protocol.

Now, however, with ever increasing numbers of businesses moving critical services to the cloud, coupled with the growth of use of laptops and mobile devices – along with the increasing need to accommodate remote and flexible working – traditional security and identity management has proved inadequate.

Added to this, IT departments and the business itself are under constant pressure to implement the cloud applications and services that enable a business to succeed in today’s demanding and competitive environment. The processing advantages created by the functionality itself sit beside the benefits of investing in a product in the cloud – the elimination of infrastructure costs, access to ‘evergreen’ software, and to a swift implementation.

While for the vast majority of businesses the question is no longer ‘Why move to the cloud?’ but, ‘Why am I not moving to the cloud?’, the transformation for many is gradual on an individual function basis. A perfectly acceptable and well-proven strategy, it means that identity protocols must encompass management for applications across on-premise and cloud – as well as deliver validation and authorisation for requests for access to services from those external to the organization – customers, suppliers, partners, for example.

And of course, by being in the cloud, the individual business – particularly the SMB with relatively limited or indeed no internal IT support – has access to far enhanced security resources than that which can often be provided in-house, plus these cloud-based identity management products are subject to update and upgrade as with other cloud products.

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