3 Steps To Choose The Right Cloud-Based Identity Solution

Companies around the world are migrating applications and resources to the cloud - AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform - driving digital transformation across several areas, and changing the way we handle essential processes such as identity and access management (IAM).

In fact, next year through to 2022, the IAM space will grow to $13.42 billion thanks to the continuing evolution of cloud-based solutions like Okta unifying our IAM processes - user provisioning, governance, onboarding, and application integration - into one simplified toolset.

A big part of moving from on-prem to the cloud is ensuring the migration is safe and secure. However, it can be a daunting task when so many of us are already using and reliant on a large number of different cloud applications, commonly services like Dropbox, Office 365, SalesForce.

Typically, customers Xello speak to usually have the following questions on their mind when attempting to modernise their approach to identity and access management:

  • How do we ensure critical apps meet our compliance and security requirements?
  • Is there a way cloud apps are always provisioned and accessible for the right people?
  • Which solutions are best to keep potential risk and high costs under control?

Addressing these key concerns, along with many others surrounding how our staff authenticate, access, and manage applications and systems, requires a thorough identity assessment of current applications and services deployed in your cloud or hybrid environment.

A review is essential to the foundation of an effective modern identity strategy - otherwise you don’t know which identity solution is best-fit for your organisation - and those companies that take the time to assess their situation before adopting new identity tools are far better off.

Follow these 3 easy steps to choose the right cloud-based identity solution for your business.

Step 1: Assess your current apps, systems and IAM processes

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Leveraging the benefits of automated user provisioning, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Single-Sign-On (SSO) across your cloud environment is an essential part of digital transformation and moving away from old, outdated identity, access and security processes.

However, these benefits only come with a proper review of your current identity state.

Take the time to form a team that identifies the gaps within your current identity and access management processes, policies, governance and infrastructure; this will help you establish future requirements when adopting a cloud-based IAM solution, such as costs and capabilities.

To be able to ensure access to apps is appropriate and safeguarded, you also must do a thorough review of the business critical apps your company is currently using, what kind of sensitive information resides within that requires stronger role-based access controls, and your end-user’s needs and preferences when it comes to accessing these applications and data. Having this information is critical to choosing the right modern identity solution for your needs.

Key questions to consider during this self-assessment of your identity environment include:

  • What are the core applications your users using?
  • Which groups need to authenticate and access which assets?
  • Are staff able to remotely authenticate and access applications on mobile devices?
  • Which resources are internal and external to your organisation?
  • Is your users’ identity primarily managed by an on-premises Active Directory?
  • What on-premises applications do you use and how are they accessed by users?
  • How is onboarding and offboarding provisioning for new staff and former users?
  • Are new staff getting permissions they need, old staff properly having access removed?
  • What are the costs and improvement areas for your current IAM processes?

The first step is the longest, but also the most vital. A thorough assessment helps you identify the critical gaps in your current identity and access management processes, so you can choose the best identity solution out there - whether it’s Okta or Ping or another - to fill those gaps.

Read more: Okta vs Ping Identity: What's the difference?

 

Step 2: Identify compliance, security and risk concerns

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We’ve spoken to many customers that have been unprepared for their transition to cloud-based identity solutions on account of failing to identify current compliance, security and risk concerns.

While SSO and MFA are always essential capabilities when modernising our identity processes, other aspects you may lack at the moment - like the ability to remotely revoke access in case of stolen company hardware, or software that can automatically maintain and modify access privileges for applications throughout a staff member’s entire lifecycle - are important to tick off.

Key questions to consider while you identify the most pressing security concerns include:

  • Does the identity solution adhere to international regulation standards - ISO 27017, etc?
  • Does the identity solution support authentication standards - OAuth, OpenID Connect, SAML, etc?
  • Has the vendor been audited by independent third-parties to follow compliance frameworks?
  • Is the identity vendor compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) data privacy standards?
  • Is the identity solution committed to a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

If your present-day application deployment across both on-premises and cloud applications lacks the kind of protected access and security you need, it’s best to be able to identify this problem so that you’re able to choose the solution that best fills the gap.

Read more: Why cloud identity is as important as cloud security

 

Step 3: Develop your business case and IAM adoption strategy

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Rushing into an adoption of any new technology is ill-advised without the right plan to guide your journey.

Considering that identity and access management is relevant to all staff within the company (being the users you need to manage), having a strategy to get buy-in from key members of the organisation and help get them on-board is key to choosing the right tool that ticks all the boxes.

Is your modernising of workplace identity centered around on-premises directory integration with the cloud? Is it primarily focused on enabling SSO and MFA so users can remotely access core applications without the need to log in or manually remember credentials? Is it about streamlining the onboarding and offboarding user provisioning process? Or all the above?

Establishing the right framework to guide your eventual IAM solution adoption starts with knowing the answers to these critical questions, and being able to effectively articulate their answers to staff across the business - both decision-makers and users.

 

Choosing the right IAM solution: Next steps

Xello recognise developing the business case of any identity modernisation project is the most difficult step of the process, which is why we help assist enterprises build their unique business case from start to finish as part of our Modern Identity Assessment, so you know the exact effort and costs to adopt a new solution such as Okta or Ping.

We assess your current state applications to determine a suitability rating based on your Identity and Security posture, and provide a prioritised Action Plan that gives you a clear roadmap of Now, Next and Horizon, ensuring your Modern Identity and Access adoption plan is prioritised.

Interested in a free assessment? Click the link below to get in touch with our team.

Get My Modern Identity Assessment