How to Make Your Cloud App Ready for the Enterprise

IT’s job is harder now than it’s ever been. The reality of a hybrid on-premise and cloud environment has complicated and drastically changed IT’s role, forcing them to adapt for risk irrelevance. But what about the SaaS ISVs seeking to get in on the growth in enterprise cloud adoption? What’s the secret to building a successful, enterprise-ready cloud application? ISVs must ensure their apps are easily integrated with existing infrastructure , that they’re easy to use and implement, and that they are easy for IT to secure and manage.

End users — the people these are made for — simply won’t tolerate apps that complicate their lives. IT organizations similarly want apps that are as easy to manage and secure as their on premise counterparts. So how can ISVs create meaningful applications that people will actually want to use and that IT will embrace? For the technically inclined among you, we wrote a whitepaper on the topic. For the rest of you, here’s the Cliff Notes version:

Everyone Hates Passwords

Between personal applications (Google, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter) and the many business apps sweeping through the workplace, we’re all overwhelmed by passwords. Employees hate them because they’re a hassle, and IT hates them because they invite security breaches. Ease of use is essential to any successful, enterprise-ready application – and that starts with single sign-on. Users want centralized access to the applications they use every day. They don’t want to be bothered with accessing each application independently. ISVs can make this happen by supporting key standards like SAML.

Your Application Doesn’t Live in a Silo

A hybrid cloud/on-premise environment is the reality of today’s IT. Any cloud application that refuses to play nicely with a company’s existing on-premises infrastructure is doomed to fail. Join us in dreaming of a world where all business applications are based in the cloud, but ensure your cloud application can integrate seamlessly with on-premise infrastructure like Active Directory so IT can manage access to it just like they do their apps behind the firewall.

Keep IT’s Job Simple

Understand the “identity lifecycle” —every touch point along the way including provisioning and deactivating user access — and how your application deals with it.

  • How is a user created in your application?
  • How are user profiles updated?
  • How do admins manage access to the application?
  • How can you help customers align access policies across different applications?
  • How can admins deactivate an account?

At a minimum, the application must allow administrators to manage and change permissions for the following functions:

  • Account creation – User profiles with names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • User Profile Management – Allow IT end users to easily set and manage permissions to the application.
  • Deactivation/Reactivation – When an employee leaves the company or when IT needs to otherwise restrict access to the application
  • Authorization Management – Allow users to easily provision employees or groups of employees. Perhaps IT will want to assign the same privileges to all sales people, for example.

Built correctly, these applications are great for business — and for cloud computing in general. End users want to use them, and they allow IT to secure and manage users’ access, from initial provisioning to assigning permissions to deactivation, in an efficient, secure and compliant manner that leverages current infrastructure and processes that are applied to on premises applications. Keep these tips in mind when developing your cloud application to make it as effective and user-friendly as possible. Follow this guidance and users will adopt and IT will embrace your application.