Cloud Application Management
When organizations implement cloud applications, they do so as a means to be more efficient and in the hopes of saving a great deal of money. What many organizational leaders often don’t realize is that they need some type of solution to help them manage these applications in the background for them to be successful. Without some way to properly manage cloud applications, organizations can actually spend a great deal of time and money to have someone manually managing these processes, rather than saving them time and resources.
While the management of cloud applications doesn’t sound difficult, it is very time consuming. Think about an organization that has frequent movement of employees or has temporary employees working there. To create accounts for each of these employees and make changes when needed, often requires a full-time admin. For the admin, they can quickly become overwhelmed with work and calls for changes to accounts, which can leave them no time to handle other more technical or important projects.
The management of these applications not only effects admins, but also has an effect on other groups. The organization as a whole — the helpdesk or admin and the end users — are all affected. For example, the organization and its managers are concerned with how much the overall cost and ROI is of the technology that they use and how efficiently everything works. If the cloud is not managed correctly it can end up costing more time and money for the organization.
And, of course, what about the end user? They want to be able to access what they need quickly and efficiently and have any changes to their accounts or access made in a timely manner so that they can complete their work and any projects. Who wants to wait around for additional access to work on a project that has a deadline. For example, often an employee needs to contact a manager or admin if they need access to an application or to make a change to their account. If this request is time sensitive, they may continually contact the manager to check up on the progress and see if the change is being implemented.
Why Organizations Are Hesitant
Why are organizations hesitant about a solution, such as identity and access management, to help manage their cloud applications then if they can benefit many different people and groups in the organization? One of the reasons for the resistance is that many of the solutions that were available to help with account management when they first came out were often large scale solutions, which cost a lot, took a long time to implement, and were for larger organizations.
Many organizations also think that they can just do it themselves. The reality is they don’t realize that these tasks are extremely time consuming and are taking time from some of their highly technical employees who could be working on other projects. It also might be costing them more to have a full-time employee manually managing cloud applications and issues. Many IAM vendors now offer the ability to choose exactly which modules are needed so that they don’t need to purchase a large Enterprise solution with modules that they don’t need. They can tell the vendor exactly what is needed and have them customize the solution. This drastically reduces both the cost and the time to implement. This allows even smaller organizations to benefit from IAM solutions.
How IAM Solutions Can Help
So now that we talked about why a solution is needed and why many organizations are hesitant to employ the solutions, let’s look at how many types of different IAM solutions can assist with the cloud applications that organizations use.
Account management of cloud applications can easily be automated along with in-house applications. An automated account management allows the organization to link their HR system to the systems and applications that the company uses so that any change that is made in the HR system is automatically reflected in all connected applications. So for example, when a new employee starts at the organization they can simply be added to the HR system and have their accounts automatically generated for them. This allows both the admin to quickly create accounts and the end user to begin work right away without needing to wait around.
Another solution that can be used is workflow management. Using a web portal, employees can request any additional access rights to their current applications or even new applications. A workflow is setup so that when a user requests a change, the request then goes through a predefined sequence of people who need to approve it before the change is implemented. The organization can set up the workflow process however they desire, so that depending on the user, and what they request, the process goes through a specific sequence. There is also no need for the employee to bother their manager to check on the request. They can easily access the web portal and see exactly where the request is and what steps still need to be completed.
These are just some of the many solutions that help with the management of cloud applications behind the scenes. There are many other ways that IAM solutions can be customized to meet the unique needs of each organization. Since we discussed how the management of the cloud has an effect on several groups within the organization lets now look at how an IAM solution can benefit these different groups.
For the admin, they can easily manage user accounts or even delegate this task to a less technical employee so that they can work on other more technical issues and projects. They no longer need to perform tedious account management tasks that are extremely time consuming. For the end user, they can easily get any access or application they need efficiently without needing to continually contact an admin. With the portal in the workflow management module, they have an easy way of requesting any changes if needed. Lastly, for the managers and overall organization they can realize the true benefits of cloud applications without needing to focus on the manual tasks of creating, disabling, and making changes to user account.
By 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.