In any secured environment, role-based security plays a vital role. This translates into controlling information access based on group and individual rights, roles, and responsibilities. Discerning the requirements and navigating the structure required to set a base access policy requires a focus on identity. In today’s dynamic and ever-changing security environments, configuring information access so that parties are allowed to access certain information based on their identities, roles, and rights is done by means of technology and detailed planning. Modifying and reading data becomes critical in this construct as well, and it is important to create a distinction and ingrain that into such policies as well.
For most environments, the sad reality is that enterprise infrastructures have developed silos based on applications, database, and file access for any number of reasons. This sprawl can be a burden to the modern datacenter and enterprise, and a point of security contention. This is due to the natural and consistent introduction of classic systems that utilize username and password configurations as they are implemented. Modern elements may have the ability to simply integrate with Active Directory or other similar-function network credentials. This is not always the case however.
This is where identity management allows you the option of integrating identities from throughout and even beyond the network into a unified management point. There are numerous technologies out there that integrate abilities to come to a successful identity management suite, but they generally include federation and identity integration. Identity management can be configured in a countless number of ways based on your needs and can use two-factor authentication such as biometrics, access tokens, PKI, and so on as one piece of the overall security answer. They can also unify the various application silos that may exist throughout an enterprise.
Federation signifies the practice of interconnection of various environments, sometimes within a private network of organizations, such as in the case of a parent company and various associated entities. Other scenarios involve interconnecting physically and logically disparate organizations and controlling the access of information based on that relationship. Common deployments take place across public networks to the public cloud or from cloud environment to cloud environment. An example of such a configuration can exist in the relationship between hospitals and a major health contractor. For business reasons, the health contractor may need access to certain information or applications within the hospital organization in real time. Configuring the right strategy can provide this access in a secure, auditable, and centralized manner and do so without the need for additional account creation.
Action Item: In addition to security benefits, a properly deployed technology and strategy solution for an identity management system can also save organizations time and risk. It further enables users to have a more seamless computing experience and a centralized account, while satisfying the functionality and security elements that business may call for.