Driven by agility and cost efficiencies, cloud is fast transforming the way a business operates. However, the failure to ensure security for your mission-critical applications can undermine the benefits of cloud computing. Identities and access management (IAM) solutions have thus acquired utmost significance. The proper implementation of IAM for the cloud is thus a crucial part of your cloud migration. Ensuring that your IAM is appropriately implemented would not only help you meet your industry’s compliance obligations but would also optimize the cost benefits of the cloud adoption. Here is a three-step approach your organization may take for a successful IAM deployment.

A Three-Step Approach For Taking Identity and Access Management To The Cloud

1. Assess Your Current On-Premise IAM Situation

You will have to audit your current identity and authentication infrastructure and policies to determine the real costs and benefits of a cloud transition. Perform a gap analysis. First, analyze the challenges you think you are going to encounter in the upcoming days. Then define your future requirements and make a list of things you think will help you fill out the gap.

You should consider the following:

  • Make a list of application resources that your employees (and may be your vendors and partners) are currently using. Now review which of the user groups use a certain set of applications, and how to set up an authentication mechanism to give these resources to those users.
  • Identify the applications over which your IT department may not have direct control. This means they are placed into a service through ‘Shadow IT.’
  • Determine the processes you are going to adopt to manage your staff’s access to these resources. Think of the ways you are planning to provision new user access to these assets.
  • Calculate the probable administrative and support costs related to managing user identity and access.
  • Once you get the picture, it will be easier for you to draw out a sound cloud migration strategy.

2. Determine Which IAM Approach Is Right for You

The goal of this evaluation is to understand your requirements against your capabilities and the total cost of adopting new cloud IAM services.

You should consider the following factors:

Directory Integration: In order to be able to smoothly import user and group information, your IAM solution needs to have a strong integration with the Active Directory.

Choose Your Vendor Carefully: Identity management is critical for your business, and it is going to be even more crucial as your applications move to the cloud. Do your homework diligently before choosing your cloud vendor who will have the primary responsibility to protect your data in the cloud.

Open Standards: Make sure that both your IAM and cloud application providers adhere to such standards as SAML and SCIM.

Cost Factors: Cloud IAM solutions offer a subscription-based pricing model, which offer substantial cost benefits over the traditional perpetual licensing and maintenance models.  By helping to shift the cost from capital to the operations budgets, subscription models can help companies to achieve a significant cost saving. A cloud-based IAM app can help you save in many other ways. For example, it can help the companies to avoid over-provisioning of software by reporting on how many users are actively running specific applications at a given time.

Define a Strategy for IAM Implementation on the Cloud

The secret to a successful cloud implementation of IAM solution includes onboarding of the right stakeholders at the right time, setting achievable milestones and working toward them, and then expanding the reach and scope of your application. While defining your strategy, include representatives from all teams including network, compliance, and human resource.

Here are a few strategies you can consider for charting out a cloud migration path:

Directory Integration: Map your legacy directory groups and attributes into your new cloud directory while assigning new roles and application entitlements.

SSO (single sign-on): Implement enterprise single sign-on to gain immediate productivity gains.

MFA (multi-factor authentication): Expand the use of multi-factor authentication after successfully rolling out the SSO capabilities.

Provisioning: Provision or de-provision applications from the IAM system to streamline employee onboarding/offboarding. You will have to involve your HR team in this step to be able to include the new hires to the company resources or exclude those who have left the company.

Any cloud-based solution offers several benefits over its off-premise version. Cloud-based identity and access management solutions bring four key advantages to business – improved security, increased efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced user experience. A user identity access management solution would deal with the problem of a digital identity crisis right at the source. It would include all the tools a business needs to manage the identities of employees, vendors, contractors, and other people who may have access to the virtual assets of a company.