Cloud-based services are becoming more and more common as organizations seek out secure and efficient solutions for their IT needs. A 2016 guide from IDC, a market research firm, predicts that by 2019, global spending on cloud services will rise to over $141 billion—double the amount of spending in 2015. One of the functions increasingly provisioned from the cloud is identity.
CIOs and others considering outsourcing cloud identity solutions to a third party expert need to know what the benefits are. Let's take a look at how cloud identity supplies improved privacy, security, and efficiency over legacy identity systems.
Legacy identity systems are all too often patchwork quilts of solutions, with “identity islands” floating around disconnected from one another. In this scenario, privacy ends up being patchwork as well. According to a Ponemon study, more than half of IT practitioners do not know where sensitive or confidential company data is located. If they don’t know where it is, it stands to reason that they also do not know which identities can access that information.
Enter the cloud. With identity provisioned by experts, storage of sensitive data is managed for companies by trusted third parties. Encryption keeps the information secure. Just imagine asking an overworked employee of a company with legacy systems where the private key is stored for a document full of trade secrets, or who has memorized the passphrase to unlock that key. With the cloud, top-notch encryption is provided throughout by default rather than applied piecemeal.
Quality cloud providers will use the right encryption schemes and practices to keep sensitive information private. Both data at rest and data in transit should be encrypted, and schemes such as AES-256 should be employed. Key management is also essential—unique keys should be frequently rotated, for instance. Encryption and privacy are best managed by the cloud, not by harried teams with plenty of other responsibilities on their plates.
Legacy security has been founded on the concept of the secure perimeter. In this model, the network boundaries of an organization are sharply defined and defended, perhaps by network security monitoring and other solutions.
But with the Internet of Things (IoT), telecommuting personnel, and failing firewalls, the idea of the secure perimeter is outdated. The IoT, with its WiFi-enabled products, means countless devices accessing company networks, exhausting software or infrastructure that cannot scale sufficiently. Remote workers mean there is no longer a perimeter that can be secured. And failing firewalls don't address insider threats.
Cloud identity solves these problems. First, the cloud infrastructure can scale to meet the expanding needs of the IoT or workforce devices. Second, the cloud is available anywhere, so it does away with the outdated concept of the organizational boundary or perimeter. Finally, administrators have total visibility into what access their users have and what they are doing with that access.
Legacy identity systems can really bog down organizations. Users forget passwords and have other problems with the sign-on process. Lack of visibility into what applications are accessing causes headaches as IT teams try to figure out the answers. Infrastructure is fragmented, with systems divided to provide access to different types of devices and users.
Cloud identity, on the other hand, simplifies. Users generally have a single account for each digital activity. A single sign-on solution via cloud identity can grant access dynamically to a multitude of resources for any particular user. There's no cumbersome hardware to fill server rooms, no software to “patch and pray.” It's as straightforward as it gets.
Cloud identity also makes the IT budget much simpler. There are costs for subscribing and administration, but that’s it. The recurring license fees for software disappear, as do the expenses for ever-expanding server rooms, VPN setups, hardware repairs, and more. So, accounting will appreciate the efficiency in addition to IT.
The Cloud Identity Solution
Businesses need flexibility for their tools, and the cloud offers that. It’s always available and always on, with a host of applications and processes for companies to choose from. With a cloud identity solution, companies can connect their thousands of devices with countless apps in a secure and efficient manner. It’s easy to do, and quickly boosts the privacy, security, and efficiency of your operations.
Ready to make the switch? Try an Okta demo today.