Updated: Aug 31
Enterprises looking for more robust identity and access management (IAM) platforms are turning to the cloud and embracing the flexibility of identity-as-a-service (IDaaS). To choose the right off-premise solution for IAM, business management and IT professionals must evaluate security, functionality and adaptability prior to implementation. These six questions can guide enterprises in selecting a reliable IDaaS vendor to support diverse access requirements.
Does it Work with All Applications?
Most enterprise-level organizations take a hybrid approach to business applications, hosting some on premise and others in the cloud. Reconciling IAM across these applications is challenging, particularly when legacy solutions are involved or users require seamless access from a variety of devices. Companies utilizing applications built on numerous platforms, such as a mix of Windows and Linux software, face further difficulties. Regardless of where the applications are hosted or accessed, a strong IDaaS solution should simplify integration between systems and applications to create a unified user experience.
How are Identities Managed and Verified?
With numerous industries now requiring detailed access and security policies, IDaaS solutions must offer tools for managing identities in varied use cases. Access requirements within businesses can also change as new devices, applications and users are added or third-party partnerships are formed. Each user should be able to access necessary resources without the need to sign into each application separately.
IDaaS solutions provide a framework for single sign-on (SSO) or federated identity with multi-factor authentication (MFA), which eliminates silos and allows for uninterrupted movement across applications and network environments. Directory services authenticate identities through a central database to allow an appropriate level of access in all situations.
What Security Measures are Used?
IAM is useless if identities aren’t secure, so enterprises must investigate how IDaaS providers address the safety and privacy of identity information. One set of stolen credentials can compromise an entire network and threaten the security of the third parties with which an enterprise is connected. Strong encryption, including password hashing, is required to prevent credential theft and minimize the damage hackers can do if sensitive data falls into their hands.
Enterprises must take into account all users who need access, including employees, customers and third-party vendors, and evaluate IDaaS solutions in light of risk levels and compliance requirements. Platforms using risk assessment tools and behavioral monitoring to determine when to grant access are likely to be more reliable than those with less detailed security controls.
Can Configurations Be Customized?
Just as enterprise access needs differ, so do network configurations and workflows. Manufacturing companies employing connected devices and smart machines require access management solutions equipped to handle device identities along with human users, whereas growing tech companies may be better served by IDaaS solutions designed for quick access from both on-premise and mobile devices.
Although turnkey solutions may provide the underlying framework for any company’s IAM needs, custom configurations are necessary to achieve optimal performance. Basic templates for IAM policies simplify setup and implementation, but enterprises should focus on solutions their IT departments can adjust to address unique access requirements as network environments change over time.
Is it Designed to Scale?
Affordability and flexibility are always major concerns when adopting cloud solutions. Enterprises need freedom to accommodate growth and adapt networks to incorporate new users and devices. IDaaS software equips companies forecasting rapid growth to keep up with IAM requirements and prevent security issues arising from poorly managed identities.
IDaaS must be robust enough to handle large numbers of access requests while maintaining peak performance at all times, especially in enterprises managing customer identities and vendor accounts. Slow response times negatively impact the user experience, which affects both employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
Will it Save Time and Money?
Building and maintaining onsite infrastructure to support a modern IAM solution is still an option for enterprises but should be considered with caution as access protocols continue to become more nuanced. IT departments already handle significant workloads, and adding the design, implementation and upkeep of a new onsite system may undermine the security of IAM protocols. Cybersecurity skill shortages make it difficult to find employees with the capabilities to properly manage and maintain the complex systems involved in enterprise IAM.
Switching to a cloud-based solution in which updates, backups and security are largely handled by a third party offloads a significant number of responsibilities from the IT department to free teams from the constant load of administrative duties associated with access control.
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