One of the most important aspects of any business is to have an open source system for managing identities in enterprise environments. Identity management uses a combination of business processes as well as IT within a specific company in order to manage user data on specific applications and systems throughout the specified network. There are many things in which you need to consider as an administrator when deciding on identity management. You have to consider different types of entitlements, user roles, attributes as well as resources, just to name a few. The main things administrators want to know regarding the management is who has access to what and why they have it.
The many things that identity management provides are access rights to the information and tools that the proper people need, when they need them. They implement an approval process for access and delegation of authority for what is needed. It protects the company through the IT department from any kind of information theft. It helps the company utilizing the management comply with rules and regulations in order to make sure the company holds true. It gives the company and their employees privacy and assurance that their important information will be kept as theirs and theirs alone. Another major thing in which is does which is often overlooked as important however makes the company more productive is creates and automates the enforcement of business policies that will help strengthen the security of your infrastructure while in turn helps reduce the administration costs of your staff and improves productivity to work on the important things.
One of the major downfalls for not utilizing an identity management solution is that you can put your business at risk of falling into situations that can end up costing the company a good amount of money. One of these examples is a new employee that has just been hired and waiting for the proper access and authority they need in order to do their job. In turn, there are employees that are either no longer employed with the company or have moved departments that still would have access to previous and prior tools or programs. It could be weeks until this is found and corrected which lowers productivity and wastes the time for all that are involved. There would be no way in order to find who needs access and who does not need the access.
When considering building out an identity infrastructure, you have to take into account a couple very diverse aspects within the management from an IT stand point, those being both identity management and access management. Some examples of these can be an identity lifecycle management, both access and role based control and management and some self-service abilities. One of the major things to look at is that any solutions which involves this type of infrastructure needs to do its job by leveraging existing processes, rules and technological put in place by the business opposed to replacing these processes that have already been built.
An example of how this would work is as followed. Say you have a scenario when a different set of users have different types of access to different types of systems and tools provided by the company. Each system or tool in this situation has its own set of usernames, passwords profiles and authorities. The whole process of giving authorization and delegation to this set of groups are completely different for each application. By introducing an identity management solution, this becomes a lot more seamless and simple for not only the user but for the administrator. The system being utilized through the management takes care of all security characteristics of the communication between the users, synchronization of information among the multiple systems, performs the needed auditing of the applications and logs all transactions that have been processed for each application.
As it has been pointed out throughout this entire article, one of the most important parts of a positive management tool is the process used to create, modify or remove accounts, management and track any changes as well as track any policy compliance within the company. Some examples of this would be the automatic creation of accounts as well as the expiration of accounts across multiple applications. In turn, the administrator would gain this time back in order to perform other important tasks within the organization as well as reducing risk of security by the automatic application of policies. Automation of notification, approval, escalation and creation of audit data is another extremely important use. One central location for your administrators to manage all of this will give your administrators one place to do all of their work opposed to working across multiple platforms. Most of the time, these interfaces would be deployed out through a web console. Credential management of passwords and certificates could be easier stored in one place. Like other tools and programs out there, role based access control can be utilized for creation of roles to be configured with a specific definition of membership.
From an administrator point of view at a very high level, there are often two mechanisms within the architecture of identity management solutions. Usually you have one portion of the system that is kind of known as the catch all for everything. It is often through a web application that acts as one center for applications to be called and ensures that the data is managed persistently. The other is the administration interface which is where all the configuration and administration is done. The console in which the administrators would view would be one central place that will then in turn call all of the core needs. This makes it easy if you have multiple applications that were purchased from a third party vendor. All of these applications would be called through the controller which the administrator would have access to and would centralize management.
Your logic of the tool will be where more of the components orchestrate the workflow of the data within the entire system. It gets involved in the calls and processes the data defined and is returned into the specified resource. The controller is what does all of the communication with the external world. Often times, the controller will translate the data in multiple formats, most often XML. The engine of the workflow is where most of your flexibility comes in. This allows the system to adapt to different types of situations giving the administrator less worry about converting in a certain language.
As this article has described, identity management makes the life of the administrator a lot easier thus giving them more time to do what is important within the company. Often times, people feel that automating certain tasks are not possible or worth it however once you utilize an identity management system, you will wonder why you didn’t use it before. Not only does it free up valuable time for your administrator but it will also give the company and those that are in charge of it a piece of mind knowing that employee turnover will not affect the processes of the company. Often times, especially within the IT industry, you can have a high turnover in staff and often times things are not documented as they should be. Implementing this type of management will guarantee that no matter who is running your infrastructure, there will always be processes in place and they will be done properly and correctly in order to help your business run as efficiently and securely as it should.