The Importance of Planning Your Identity and Access Management Solution

Posted by Mark Finlay on 23 November 2015

Identity and Access Management (IAM) refers to a set of business processes and supporting technologies that enable the creation, maintenance, and use of a digital identity – i.e. it is about your users: who they are, how they are authenticated and what they can access.

The first impression that any customer or staff member has of your IT systems/services is formed from his or her initial experience at the login screen. If the login/authentication process is difficult to use or maddeningly slow the reputation of your company can be stigmatized as a direct result of a poorly implemented IAM solution.

If it is implemented correctly, identity and access management should be simple and intuitive to an end user. It should provide users, application owners, and IT administrative staff with secure, easy access to applications; solutions that require fewer login credentials; and improved security and auditing.

A quick search of the web will find literally millions of articles on IAM software selection, planning, implementation and best practices from vendors such as Red Hat, ForgeRock, IBM, Novell, Symantec, Hitachi, as well as other organisations experiences with their implementations… IAM is an important core technical service not to be underrated.

Phil Windley, author of the book Digital Identity (published by O’Reilly Media, Inc.), makes the point that "...identity management is as much about politics and economics as it is about technology — maybe more." So, with that point in mind, engagement is the key to selecting and planning your IAM solution, because it impacts everyone and everything.

Engage with all of the stake-holders in your business so that everyone understands the requirements, the deliverables, the impacts, the timelines and the cost. It is better to consult with all of the important decision makers early on than to have the project disrupted later on because someone was left out of the process. All IT projects are better off for having cooperation and buy-in from other parts of the company, especially IAM, which affects nearly everyone.

Using your organisations software selection process you will need to select the IAM solution that is the best fit for your requirements - assuming you are not going to develop your own solution in-house, but let’s not go there!

Identity and Access Management projects tend to be long and complex because of the number of systems, applications and the inter-dependencies involved, and you must also consider future state objectives – infrastructure changes (moving some or all services to the cloud), new operating systems, new applications, etc.

Engage with specialists to help plan and successfully implement your Identity and Access Management solution. If you want expert assistance with selecting the right solution, and planning and implementing it successfully, then this would be an ideal time to engage with New Zealand’s Specialist Enterprise Integrator – OSS.