Identity and Access in the Cloud: Keeping IT Simple

There’s no question cloud applications can dramatically simplify and streamline how users get the resources they need to work effectively. But do you worry about how moving to the cloud could also complicate IT, with so many more apps and more users in more places outside your control? Smooth your journey to the cloud and keep things simple for everyone by following a few simple principles for secure access to cloud-based applications.  

Move at Your Own Pace
Chances are your organization wasn’t “born in the cloud.” You probably have plenty of on-premises applications people are still using even as you make the transition to applications beyond your traditional business borders. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you shouldn’t feel rushed to leave existing apps behind in the process of making your move. What you need are authentication and access tools that make it easy for you to support a hybrid environment spanning both on-premises and cloud-based applications.

If you think you need a different multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution for the cloud than the one you’re currently using on-premises, in anticipation of moving everything to the cloud eventually, think again. Extending your current MFA solution to the cloud not only makes the most of your existing investment, but will afford you more flexibility to move at your own pace. It will also make the transition smoother as you do more in the cloud.

Build a Bridge Across Apps to IT
It may seem like having some applications on-premises and others in the cloud creates a potential security risk. And it certainly can—but it doesn’t have to. Another advantage of extending a single authentication solution across on-premises and cloud applications is that doing so bridges islands of identities created by these different types of applications, the various ways they are protected and the numerous places they live. One solution gives you broad visibility and control into who has access to what.

Security is a critical concern when moving to the cloud, of course—but it’s not the only one that’s addressed by having an MFA solution that works across applications on-premises and in the cloud. When everything connects, it’s also easier to deliver on the promise of the cloud to simplify and streamline access—which brings us to our next point.

Deliver a Consistent, Frictionless User Experience
As you move to the cloud, you want to ensure the same level of secure access that you have on-premises. But you also don’t want that quest for security to get in the way of an easy and convenient access experience for users wherever they are and whatever devices they’re using. After all, the ability to quickly and effortlessly access resources is a major reason people want to use apps in the cloud in the first place. Why get in the way of that by placing undue demands on them in the form of complex authentication processes? A single, seamless authentication solution helps ensure you won’t have to.

Seek out a solution that affords users the freedom to work in whatever way is best for them, by allowing them to have a consistent access experience no matter what application they’re using or whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud. Moreover, do everything possible to make that experience as frictionless as possible. Today’s users want to be able to simply log in and go, with virtually no effort. But organizations also need to make it secure. Solutions that leverage user behavior and other “behind the scenes” intelligence to learn the differences between good users and bad are making this a reality, by minimizing the need for additional authentication and ensuring that access controls are in proportion to levels of risk.

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