In the days before the cloud, identity management and user authentication was often simply a matter of remembering your password to log into your (one and only) corporate account. Exceptionally, you might also have had login credentials for a central project or contract management application. Passwords were granted and controlled directly by the IT department. But with the cloud being here, users now connect to cloud applications without IT department approval and passwords per user multiply, making identity management a different, bigger challenge.
The Cloud Application Gold Rush and Its Consequences
Employees and their managers often mean well. They want to help their company win, serve, and grow the business. Cloud project controls applications are a fast way of achieving those goals. After all, they are ready to use today and accessible remotely, whereas IT departments trying to offer the same service from inside the enterprise may take days, weeks, or even months to get things going. However, uncontrolled third party cloud applications lead to weak or flawed identity management. And as they may be used with valuable and confidential enterprise data just like traditional on-premise applications, the risk of data breach grows.
IT Departments Need a New Approach
Desperate attempts by IT departments to clamp down on cloud application usage are often futile. In these days of mobile and BYOD access, you cannot stop users from connecting to popular file storage and syncing applications. The traditional IT security perimeter has vaporized in many cases. Conventional firewalls designed to protect everything on the inside are no longer sufficient, when so much is now happening on the outside, meaning in the cloud.
Going Securely with the Flow
Smarter IT departments realize that it makes more sense to go with the flow and reevaluate their identity management strategy, rather than fight it. They understand that it is preferable to support users who want to use cloud applications. They will then be better positioned to channel user activity into more secure modes, and to know what data is “out there” in which applications. This also increases the chances of safely terminating access for users who move from one department to another, or who leave the enterprise, rather than leaving open and exposed corporate data in unregistered SaaS accounts.
Defining Use Cases and Selecting Cloud Service Providers
A critical counterpart to an effective identity management strategy that includes the cloud is the identification of user roles and requirements. An organization needs to draw up access rules that specify what a given type of user (role) should be able to access in terms of accounts, applications, data, and privileges (requirements.) From this, the organization can examine the different use cases – for example, bid management, project management, engineering design, and partner/supplier collaboration – to determine if identity management will be handled in-house or outsourced to another company. This combined identity and access management (IAM) approach also allows the IT department to assist in selecting suitable external service providers.
How LoadSpring™ Answers Identity Management Needs
LoadSpring integrates effective identity management capabilities into its cloud application hosting services via its LoadSpring Cloud Platform. Users see the benefit of LoadSpring Platform’s single sign-on capabilities, which spare them from having to remember multiple passwords. Companies can now enjoy fast and easy user and license management, to quickly add/delete users directly from the LoadSpring Cloud Platform. The location awareness capabilities of LoadSpring Cloud Portal also track the location from which their users are logging in and the different applications they are using. In short, LoadSpring Platform’s project cloud control portal help everybody to securely improve their identity management strategy.