With Software-as-a-Service applications becoming the norm rather than the exception, we see many organizations facing the challenge of how to handle identity management and single sign-on for all of these new services while also supporting their internal systems. Unfortunately, most organizations find themselves falling into one of two camps. Those that adopted a solution a number of years ago find themselves struggling with one of the old legacy systems that are very costly to maintain and hard to manage. Worse yet, those without a solution in place are faced with providing the user with a long list of IDs and passwords that are not only inconvenient and frustrating for the user, but also create administrative nightmares and significant security risks.

The Outlook is Cloudy

Whether it’s Salesforce, Office 365, Google Apps, Box or others, proliferation of cloud-based services has developed much more quickly than ways to effectively manage access to them. This shift in the way applications are provided has left many IT organizations in a quandary.

Those with legacy systems are on a “connector treadmill”, doing custom development work to provide a connection to each cloud-based service when it’s required. Each of these iterations is costly, takes a lot of time and delays deployment of the new application or service. At the end of the day, this is a cumbersome solution at best.

Those that are facing the challenge without a solution in place are wondering what questions to ask and how to quickly get a solution in place before a security breach occurs.     

What Should I Be Asking?

Whether you’re at your wit's end trying to morph your high-cost legacy solution into one that is cloud aware or evaluating new solutions to address the identity management and single sign-on challenges, here are ten questions to include on your capabilities checklist:

  1. Was the solution built from the ground up to handle cloud-based applications as well as my on premise systems?
  2. Does the solution require a significant investment in my infrastructure in terms of hardware, software and technical resources?
  3. How many cloud-based applications and on premise systems are supported “out-of-the-box” to help me avoid the “connector treadmill”?
  4. Does the solution leverage a centralized directory (such as Active Directory or LDAP) that I already have in place?
  5. Does the solution automatically provision and de-provision user accounts? 
  6. In terms of mobility, does the solution offer a consistent experience on desktops, tablets, smartphones as well as desktops inside and outside of my network?
  7. Since a lot of my help desk calls are related to password resets, does the solution offer a self-service password reset feature?
  8. Will the solution show me who has access to what and when they use it?
  9. Does the solution hold up under the scrutiny of SOC2 Type II or equivalent independent audits?
  10. Is the solution easy and quick to implement with an impressive ROI?

Clearing the Fog

After researching various solutions available in the marketplace, Systems Alliance Inc. has partnered with Okta.  The Okta Identity Management solution increases security and control, improves user productivity, reduces IT costs and maximizes SaaS ROI. This solution is cloud-based, architected for zero downtime, supports thousands of applications out-of-the-box and can be quickly implemented (usually within a few weeks). ROI is also impressive since it doesn’t require any significant internal infrastructure or in-house engineering expertise.

Selecting a Solution is Only the First Step

Although selecting your identity management and single sign-on solution is a good first step, it’s just as important to have a smooth implementation. To that end, stay tuned for the next segment that will discuss guidelines, pitfalls to avoid and best practices when implementing these types of solutions.

Learn more about SAI’s IT Strategy and Operations services.