Understanding Identity as a Service
It seems like “as a service” solutions have exploded. You’ve got software as a service (SaaS). There’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS). You’ll find companies offering platform as a service (PaaS) as well. Now it’s time to add one more “as a service” to your lexicon. IDaaS, or Identity as a Service, is more than just one more acronym to remember. It’s actually an essential tool for companies seeking to build additional revenue streams. What should you know about identity as a service and what can it do for your business?
What Is IDaaS?
IDaaS refers to the centralized management of identity. There are many ways in which this could be done. For instance, the list of such services could include, but are not limited to:
- Single sign-on capabilities
- Password management
- Two-factor authentication
- Centralized User Management
There are numerous benefits and advantages found here. For instance, because its cloud based, there is no need to set up an in-house server or deal with software. That reduces costs, time and hassles for businesses. Additionally, IDaaS solutions are scalable, so they’re applicable to small, medium and enterprise level businesses.
However, the single most important benefit to understand here is that IDaaS offers significant enhancements to identity and access management.
Passwords are only as useful as they are strong. However, complex passwords are difficult to remember, and most users would rather create an easy to remember (weak) password, than a complex one (strong) that’s difficult or impossible to remember. For businesses, this means an increased risk of password misuse, unauthorized access to sensitive information, data breaches and much more.
The challenge for businesses goes deeper, though. Many are required to follow strict regulations (HIPAA or PCI, for instance). Businesses also want stronger security and protection against the myriad threats today. One only needs to glance at recent headlines to see just how common data breaches, data theft and loss are becoming, even for giant companies like Target and Home Depot.
Saying that, addressing these security concerns is not as simple as it sounds. Too many businesses watch in frustration as their employees ignore password policies and either create simple passwords, or reuse the same password for multiple platforms and accounts. Other employees write down their passwords in an unprotected format that can be easily accessed by unauthorized people. Password policy enforcement across even a small business is a nightmare.
IDaaS Is the Answer
The answer to the question of building better security for businesses, as well as to creating new revenue streams for IT companies is IDaaS. With the right identity as a service platform, you can deliver vital solutions to your clients, while increasing your own revenue. Everyone wins. Of course, you must choose the right platform. There are many different choices available, and they’re far from being created equal. Look for a platform that offers the following three core capabilities:
Password Management: One of the most difficult things about following correct password policies is remembering them, changing them frequently and creating difficult-to-guess passwords. Password management capabilities deliver a central location for clients to organize and control their employee’s passwords, as well as monitor usage and access.
Single Sign-On: Single sign-on is exactly what it sounds like – the ability to sign onto or create new accounts on a wide range of platforms, websites and software with a single set of credentials. This removes the headache of having to create new, strong passwords each time, as well as the possibility of employees reusing the same password over and over again. Access is granted through a customized web dashboard accessible from any Internet-enabled device (smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs, etc.). The benefits here include greater efficiency and productivity for employees, as well as enhanced security (particularly when combined with multi-factor authentication).
Multi-Factor Authentication: If you’ve been paying attention to the evolution of the tech industry, you know how many providers are now offering multi-factor authentication. Even Facebook is getting in on the act by sending users a text authentication code to their smartphone when their account is accessed from a new device. Multi-factor authentication makes login credentials virtually impossible to steal, and also ensures that users aren’t required to remember lengthy, complex passwords for each account or platform.
The Benefits for Your Clients
Selling your clients on an IDaaS solution isn’t difficult. It simply requires pointing out how it can address their pain points and challenges. For instance, because it’s cloud-based, there’s no need to set up an in-house server, which reduces costs, as well as the headaches involved with setup, management, software and more.
Additionally, it ensures easy expansion (scalability) without the need to invest in additional hardware or software. Scalability cannot be emphasized enough. Your customers only expands when it’s necessary, which gets around the traditional situation of underutilization of new resources after the initial expansion.
Choosing the Right Partner
As an IT service provider, you’ll need to partner with the right company. There are plenty of options out there, but you must make an informed choice. How do you do that?
First, look for a company that operates a partner-only model. In this instance, the company will only work with IT providers, which means you won’t be competing with them in the marketplace. Second, ensure that the company sends leads your way (passing on leads from end users to their partners).
Third, ensure that the company offers a simple setup process for new customers – it should require little more than adding a new server segment, importing existing passwords, applying role-based access controls and tokens. The simpler the process, the easier it will be to build a new revenue stream for your business while still providing the robust solution that your clients demand and deserve.