By Bryan S. Hamilton
Cloud Solution Architect
In the past, keys had one function: to open locks. Keys opened the locked doors of cars, residences, commercial buildings, gates, etc. In today’s internet and cloud-driven culture, however, digital keys open the doors to businesses, databases, social media… and the world.
Previously, IT access control was managed by simply providing a limited number of access keys to your trusted employees. Now the number of people needing access to your applications is much higher, and you may not have personal knowledge of them.
So what is the secret to securing your customer’s network from dangerous intruders, but still allowing their employees, partners, vendors and customers to have air-tight access – access that can be revoked if necessary? The answer to that question is identity and access management.
What Exactly Is Identity and Access Management?
According to Gartner, identity and access management is the key. IAM enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. And, more importantly, IAM addresses the mission-critical need to ensure appropriate access to resources across increasingly diverse technology environments.
When you consider “traditional” IT, most if not all of your resources were in a data center or a set of primary and secondary data centers. Security and access control was relatively easy in this case. You put a simple “lock” on the front door, and a user either had the key or not.
In today’s hybrid cloud world, we have that same data center (or centers) PLUS, oftentimes, public cloud IaaS and/or PaaS and SaaS applications that must also be managed. These apps can be spread across multiple cloud service providers allowing the enterprise to greatly benefit from a consistent approach to managing access to all corporate resources – without regard for what or where they are.
What’s Included With Cloud IAM?
Cloud IAM typically includes the following features:
- Single Access Control Interface. Uniform access control is established for all cloud platform services and this same interface can be used for all cloud services a company offers.
- Enhanced Security. Security for critical applications can be detailed and defined.
- Resource-Level Access Control. You can grant permissions and define user roles for accessing resources at different levels.
Security used to be more black and white. Today the process is much more refined. Sure, you can use the key to come in the house, but what are you going to do in the house? Fortunately now with IAM, the line of business has the authority to grant or not grant access, set limitations, and self-manage entitlements.
There are several benefits that make using an IAM solution very valuable, such as:
- You can improve enterprise security by relying on a centralized trust model that creates a heterogeneous security posture across multiple infrastructures and services.
- It enables any user to work from any location and any device at any time.
- By leveraging single sign-on, users can have a much simplified access process to gain entry to corporate resources.
- You can better protect your sensitive data and apps by using multifactor authentication (something you know and something you have), further ensuring that you know for certain the identity of the user before granting access.
- Organizations that have considerable compliance requirements will reap major benefits from a cloud IAM, because it will serve as the single source of truth for their security and access control – no matter the resource provider or location.
Why Do You Need Cloud IAM?
- Identity and access management technology can be used to initiate, record, manage and capture user identities and their access permissions.
- All users are authorized, authenticated and evaluated according to your corporate policies and roles.
- Your customers’ employees can use personal sign-on keys to access their business applications. Once in, they can securely work on the plane, at home, or even in another country.
- Poorly controlled IAM processes may lead to regulatory non-compliance. If the organization is audited, management may not be able to prove that company data is not at risk of being misused.
Unlocking the Door
In this increasingly dangerous cyberworld that we live in, security is on everyone’s mind. Don’t get locked out. Identity and access management is the key to securing your network and protecting your assets.
Contact your Arrow representative today to learn more.