The Trick to Accelerate Service Adoption comes in the form of simplifying Identity and Access Management (IAM)
By Frank J. Ohlhorst
Digital transformation is driving many an enterprise into the realm of high-powered services, where legacy and line of business applications are transformed into cloud-based services. However, transitioning to those new cloud applications comes with a price beyond simple operational expenses. Since those cloud-based applications are now in the realm of the internet, issues such as security, data protection, and privacy become much more evident. Security layers, ranging from localized directory authentication, to data leakage protection, to application firewalls, protected applications prior to the cloud. All of which strove to protect the critical data those applications worked with.
Digital transformation and the adoption of cloud technologies has eliminated many of the protections that enterprises have come to rely on with internalized IT. In other words, threats that were once thought impossible are now an everyday fact of digital life. In the past, cyber criminals would have to overcome the barriers presented by firewalls, application gateways, authentication schemes, local directory services, data leakage detection systems, and other technologies of protection that lived within the local network.
The cloud has changed that narrative, forcing businesses to rely on service providers, hosts, and other web application enablers to protect applications from compromise. In turn, many providers have adopted complex authentication schemes, virtual appliance solutions, and other technologies to bring a modicum of security to applications exposed to the World Wide Web. However, those schemes have added additional complexity that has made using those web applications more difficult for end users, and harder to manage for IT staffers, ultimately turning an easier way to conduct business into something untenable, potentially derailing the goal of digital transformation.
Identity Management: The Secret Sauce of Digital Transformation
As outlined above, the primary roadblocks to digital transformation can be summed up as being able to build web applications that are both secure and easy to use -- terms that were once on very different ends of the IT spectrum. Ease of use often diminished security, while security often removed ease of use. Looking at those problems from a different perspective, one can see that those elements are clearly focused on the end user. In other words, security and privacy many not be an issue, if the user is fully vetted and the identity is established without compromise. Simply put, knowing the users is the first step in securing an application.
That concept has led to the rise of numerous Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions, which unify the who and the how of application access. From a security perspective, knowing who is accessing an application, how they are accessing, and why they are accessing it are some of the most important criteria for protection. If users can be vetted, validated, and impersonation is prevented, then corporate data should be safe from cybercriminals.
While the concepts of IAM may seem simple, implementation can be another story all together. Actually knowing who a user is proves far different from assuming who a user is. A theory proven time and time again by phishing schemes, stolen credentials, and countless other methods to impersonate a legitimate user. That is what makes IAM somewhat complex to implement and guarantee it being effective.
Ease of use can be achieved by implementing technologies that can combine single sign on capabilities (SSO) with Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) and reputation scoring and management. Regrettably, very few solutions on the market combine those elements into a single, easy to deploy platform.
Those looking to leverage digital transformation and bring forth cloud delivered applications need to take into account the combination of ease of use and unified security to guarantee success. For most that means looking into IAM solutions that incorporate the critical elements of user identification before granting access to an application. Only then will the resistance to digital transformation be reduced and the full potential of cloud delivered services be realized.
For more information, such as white papers, case studies, and how-to guides on IAM, MFA, and cloud-based security, please visit the resources provided by AuthAnvil at https://authanvil.com/resources