Selecting a Comprehensive Federated Identity Management Solution
IT departments are faced with increased pressure to provide safe and easy access to a growing number of cloud applications while keeping company data secure. But rolling out application access securely, especially when businesses are yet to fully adopt cloud solutions can be challenging, slow and costly. This is where federated identity management (FIM) comes in.
More companies are shifting from on-premise identity and access management solutions to identity federation management solutions. The adoption of identity and access management as a service (IDaaS) is today’s go-to solution for organizations when it comes to single sign-on (SSO) to SaaS application use.
Here, we’re going to have a closer look at the criteria for selecting the most comprehensive federated identity management solution for organizations.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
The goal of any federated identity management solution is to ensure that only authorized and authenticated users have access to business systems, applications or network resources. The right federated identity management system will automate this whole process and give users the ability to change their login details at will, from anywhere.
Considering there are many FIM solutions from different vendors, with different features and at varying costs, it’s important to note that there’s no “one size fits all” system for every organization. In selecting the right solution for your organization, you should consider:
- Scope – Ability to manage identities across the entire organization or a large Federation
- Features – Are you looking for simplicity or more advanced access control?
- Ease of deploying the federated identity management system
- Scalability of the FIM solution
- Available budget
Organizations must define what exactly they want their system to do in order to choose the right FIM solution to fit their needs.
Federated Identity Management Features
What features do you want for your organization? Do you want a system that supports different operating systems, directories, applications and databases? What types of authentications does the system support (passwords, tokens, biometrics)? Most federated identity management systems will come with standard features that include:
- Enterprise single sign-on (SSO)
- Synchronization of passwords and attributes
- Full provisioning and management of user accounts at all levels
- Automated access management
- Rules-based and role-based provisioning and management
- Real-time monitoring and reporting
- Policy based management
- Data Leak Prevention (DLP) integration
The more complicated the feature set it, the more complex the overall deployment process and administration of the solution will be. This also means a need for qualified personnel to implement the system. You should go for features that help you maintain efficiency and competency in customer and application access and security.
Federated Identity Management Architecture
Organizations must also look at identity federation management architecture. Access to critical information sources like the users of the system or application, their roles in the organization, accessibility levels and policies that define identity rules for network resource access is vital. A customizable architecture is what you need to process this information.
The overall FIM architecture should enable users to perform self-service tasks with ease, from anywhere and also allow administrators to manage their identity management systems remotely. High availability of the system, reliability of the information and performance are key to avoiding business slowdown and user frustration.
Choose the Right Vendor
There are various popular IDM and FIM solutions on the market. Choosing the right one is not just about going for the best in the market but what suits you best. It’s all about comparing features and functionality in relation to your organization’s preferences, needs, and budget. Look for these:
- An established vendor with proven FIM technology solutions
- Scalability and compatibility
- Easily customizable system
- Friendly user-interface
- Single sign-on and federated identity service
- Comprehensive auditing and reporting
The average organization deals with approximately 1000 cloud applications used by employees, and that calls for special attention to the importance of identity and access to securing cloud services and applications. This can’t be accomplished without having a reliable federated identity management infrastructure.
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