Utilize Your Current Directory in the Cloud

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lauren Twele

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Article By Jeffrey Hughes

Have you ever been to a town (or lived in one) where the number of homes has grown faster than the supporting infrastructure could keep up? In other words, the freeways and other services could not adequately keep up with the pace of home construction resulting in traffic delays, confusion, and frustration.

Something similar has occurred with the evolution of the cloud and cloud services. The cloud and its significant number of apps have grown explosively and many companies are adopting the cloud for at least some of their basic IT functions such as email, payroll, and HR. 

Still, other companies are taking bolder initiatives and outsourcing both data and applications to the cloud in an attempt to save money and streamline operations.

Regardless of the intent, all companies have a concern about cloud security.

How safe is my data in the cloud? How much risk am I at with multi-tenancy applications? And what about my user accounts and providing access to all these new apps?

As enterprises shift some of their data and applications to the cloud they are caught between managing identities locally at the network level, and providing access to their users to applications in the cloud.

Just like the proliferation of homes without the supporting infrastructure causes problems, so does the proliferation of user accounts with cloud adoption.

IT cannot reasonably manage user identities for both the cloud and the network, nor can the end user!

So, the cloud is challenging the typical security model like never before. Organizations know that in order to be competitive they must provide an environment with access to multiple types of users (employees, partners, and customers).

But, they must also maintain unprecedented levels of security due to today’s threats and compliance requirements. As more apps proliferate to the cloud and more companies migrate some of the apps and data to the cloud, the issue becomes more acute.

The answer lies in maintaining security credentials where they currently reside; protected behind corporate firewalls and enabling cloud-based apps to reach out to these secure user stores to verify access and implement user policies.

There is no need to replicate user identities across the cyberscape of the universe, but rather make use of the directories and databases that you already have in use and have already spent tons of money and time to implement.

This type of solution bridges the gap between cloud applications which inevitably need identity management and local user stores that already have the user's access and credentials defined.

Doesn’t that seem like a better approach to you and your users?

 

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