If you're not on the list, you can’t get in.
This is true in real life, and it's also true in the digital world: Not everyone is granted access everywhere.
If the bouncer of the VIP Club doesn't know who you are, you're not getting in. If you don’t have the right authorization - your name's not on the approved list - you won't be allowed access, no matter how much you claim you have the right. The same goes for access to IT infrastructure, from databases and servers to critical equipment and other sensitive resources.
With the multitude of critical applications, network devices, and data storage centers organizations count on for business continuity, proper access control is absolutely essential. This control should be granular and adapted both to your users and to the numerous services they need to access.
Remote access presents an additional challenge: how can you ensure that users accessing your resources remotely are who they say they are?
Identity management is critical for operations
In order to deal with the challenges - and risks - posed by employees and contractors connecting to corporate resources externally, companies turn to Identity Management solutions. IdaaS or, Idenity-as-a-Service, solutions tackle a few key problems, among others:
- Support your IT team by simplifying the user lifecycle
User management is a time-consuming activity for IT teams. Every user must be on-boarded, given customized privileges to access relevant systems, and will eventually need to be decommissioned. A centralized Identity solution offers workflows and APIs to automate and simplify the user lifecycle.
- Fight back against user password fatigue
Too many systems means too many passwords for users to keep track of: a password for the desktop, a second for the external CRM, and on and on...
Chances are high that users will use the same, likely weak, password across many systems for the sake of efficiency; it's just not feasible to remember dozens of highly complicated passwords. Identity solutions include Single Sign On (SSO) capabilities such that user authentication is requested only once during the digital day. Additionally, it can enforce password strength to limit the vulnerability of passwords used externally.
- Contextual authentication to guarantee the identity
Even without requiring authentication multiple times a day, it remains critical that the authentication process is adapted to the context of your users. In a modern work context, users are not necessarily operating from your premises. This means there is no physical evidence of their identity, like an IP address, to prove their right to access resources.
Identity solutions provide Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) combining multiple identifiers such as passwords, key fobs, SMS, and biometrics to guarantee that the user connecting to your system is, in fact, who they claim to be.
Contextual authentication is the cherry on top of secure identity management: the number and level of authentications required can be adapted to the situation: for example whether the user is located inside the company's perimeter or outside, in a foreign country.
Identity management does not have to be complex
Identity management is often synonymous with Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions which typically take the form of advanced workflows, user lifecycle management, and Access Governance. Thanks to the emergence of Cloud technologies, new IDaaS solutions deliver critical identity management capabilities with the flexibility of the Cloud:
- Collaborate securely with third-party contractors thanks to directory integration capabilities: Integrate them easily with your pre-defined secured access rules
- Reduce users' password management fatigue with SSO, self-password management, and silent authentication
- Enable adapted user experience thanks to contextual authentication: define the right level of authentication required based on the context and use of MFA technologies to guarantee user identity
- Integrate the solution simply within your existing infrastructure and workflows thanks to a dedicated set of APIs
- Lower the TCO with OPEX costs and by delegating infrastructure and scalability management
Though the bouncer of the VIP Club might be intimidating at first, in time you will see that his role verifying who may enter and who may not is critical to security. At the end of the day, he is the one that ensures a safe and well-managed experience, protecting critical infrastructure and providing seamless access to those who have a right to be there.