According to Bloor Research, 53 percent of organizations surveyed say the cloud reduces IT management complexity. Our only question is, “What are the other 47 percent thinking?” Have they ever used the cloud? Did they pick the world’s worst cloud provider?
Clearly there are some hoops one has to jump through when going to the cloud, and access and identity management is a key concern. And if you add cloud services to what you already have, then by definition you are increasing complexity. But that is not the real point of the cloud. The real point is to replace complex on-premises applications with simpler cloud wares.
The Bloor white paper, “Getting ahead in the cloud,” points to North Bridge research that finds that 53 percent of uses say the cloud reduces IT complexity. That is a move in the right direction as back in 2011 a similar survey found that only 39 percent find the cloud made things simpler.
One issue that adds to complexity is the sheer number of cloud apps some shops use. Forrester (News - Alert) Research believes that shops use an average of 13 SaaS apps, these in addition to social media and other Web offerings. And managing identities for all this safely is a complex undertaking.
And if these apps are acquired without IT involvement or approval, it is indeed a tough task to then take control and make sure these are all used safely.
Bloor’s answer to all this is for an IT shop to create an identity management solution that encompasses on-premises, but can also accommodate whatever comes their way from the cloud.
And this can help IT manage all their cloud apps from a single management console. “Traditional identity and access management technologies focused primarily on securing access to applications provisioned within the corporate network. Few, if any, catered to the needs of mobile workers or external people, such as suppliers needing to connect to applications without the need for dedicated, secure connections to be implemented. Many such systems were complex and lengthy to implement and administrative burdens were high. Their use was largely confined to larger organizations,” said Bloor analyst Fran Howarth. “Organizations looking to facilitate secure access to cloud-based applications and services have a number of options—a portal based in the cloud, one deployed on-premises, or a hybrid mixture of the two. This provides one centralized access point through which enterprise security policies can be enforced, users’ access rights can be granted and controlled, their identities authenticated securely and authorization to access resources granted.”