March 8, 2016

Jargon Free: The Three Real Main Benefits of Cloud IAM Solutions

By Dean Wiech

Main Benefits Software Solutions

There are significant discussions concerning cloud applications and software solutions, such as identity and access management (IAM) solutions, which are used in conjunction with them. These articles often discuss complex technical reasons and benefits, which may be difficult for a non-technical person to understand.

Cloud applications and cloud IAM solutions go hand in hand. This is because many of the benefits of cloud applications cannot be realized without a management solution in place. Without all of the technical concepts, what are these benefits, though? Perhaps the following points can help. These are three straight forward, easy-to-understand reasons why cloud identity management solutions are beneficial when implemented with cloud applications.

Elimination of Manual Account Management Tasks

Manual account management for any type of application is time consuming. Admins must manually enter and create accounts in each application for a new user, which can also lead to errors. For cloud applications, providers often try to mitigate this issue by offering a web-browser where managers can control access to the cloud application directly. However, they rarely automatically provision processes and this necessitates a sequence of manual operations.

One of the most important benefits of cloud IAM solutions is that they work seamlessly with both in-house and cloud applications, so that admins can manage both from one dashboard. This allows an HR employee or manager who is creating accounts for a new employee to easily check off which accounts need to be created in any applications, and the accounts will automatically be provisioned in near real time. This allows for accounts to be created quickly and easily, so that end users don’t need to wait around for the access that they need.

Increased Security

When an organization begins to use several different cloud applications it becomes difficult to ensure that the correct people have the proper access to them. Users may have access to systems and applications that they shouldn’t, leaving the company’s data unsecure. Often over time, employees are granted access for a project, when another employee is on vacation, etc., and that access is never revoked. Additionally, it needs to be guaranteed that cloud application access is disabled once an employee leaves the organization. This step is often overlooked since a manager needs to manually disable the employee account in each application that they must access.

IAM solutions allow for many different resolutions. A manager can first easily generate a report that shows exactly who has access to what, as well as any changes that they are making in that system. Many solutions also support workflow management. With workflow management and self-service, employees and managers themselves can request, check and approve facilities without any IT intervention. For example, an employee may request access to an application, a project or to view reports. The approval process is part of a structured workflow. The manager can authorize the request and it can be implemented immediately in the network, or they deny the request and the employee will not receive access. This not only dramatically improves efficiency, but this access also assists with managing an organization’s security. When an employee requests additional access or a new account, these established access rights ensure that only the correct people are providing the permission.

This process also allows a manager to easily disable the accounts of an employee who has left the organization, which ensures security of the network and data. They simply disable the user account in the solution and all connected accounts are automatically disabled.

Ease of use for remote employees

Another main issue is that cloud applications have great benefits for remote employees. These employees may access their work from anywhere at any time that they need to get their work completed. Without the correct cloud solutions in place, though, these main benefit may have some issues. For example, think of an employee who is working late at night, or is on the go and forgets one of their many, complex passwords. They aren’t able to contact the helpdesk to reset their password, which hinders them from getting quick access.

Password solutions such as single sign-on and self-service password reset, seamlessly work with in-house and cloud applications so that the organization can provide these solutions to all employees. Cloud SSO allows users to have a single set of credentials for all of their applications, so that they don’t need to enter numerous sets of credentials. This is extremely convenient for an employee who works on the go and needs to quickly log into their portal and access all of their applications. Self-service password reset solutions allow the employee the opportunity to reset their own password after correctly answering several security questions, without needing to contact the helpdesk. Remote employees, or employees who work after hours, benefit greatly from this since they are able to address any issues themselves even after the helpdesk’s regular business hours.

These are the three greatest benefits of cloud IAM solutions, without any technical jargon. Anyone, whether technical or not, can easily see that these solutions compliment cloud applications and allow their benefits to be seen without any major issues.

By Dean Wiech

Dean Wiech

Dean Wiech is managing director at Tools4ever US. Tools4ever supplies a variety of software products and integrated consultancy services involving identity management, such as user provisioning, role-based access control, password management, single sign on and access management solutions.
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