With the increased adoption of cloud computing, it has become the hottest trend since the last decade. Don’t believe? Below are some stats by RightScale to prove you the same:
- 85% of businesses now have a multi-cloud strategy, which is up from 82% of 2016.
- Businesses today run 79% of their workload on cloud, in which 41% in public cloud while 38% in private cloud.
Needless to say, IT professionals are focusing more and more on uptime and stability in order to leverage the competitive powers that cloud computing offers. To that end, a close examination of in-house as well as service oriented architecture solution is must. But at the same time, there is another challenge that businesses are facing. The trend to personalise customer experience, eliminate hurdles and boost security. Striking balance between the two can be a hard nut to crack for organisations and that’s where Federated identities come into the picture.
Although a new term, federated identity or identity federation is a way to build harmonious relationships between business competency and technology efficiency. For more than one reasons, identity federation is the first step while moving towards cloud. So let’s understand, what is federated identity, first.
What is Federated identity?
Password or identity management is a nightmare if you plan to build it in-house! Among cost, flexibility, scalability, security is another major concern here. Imagine the same concerns while moving to cloud.
In the world of web, federated identity is the way to link a user’s digital identities, attributes and profile data which is scattered across various identity management solutions. Single sign-on solution is such an effective tool for federated identities. The single sign-on solution users the authentication process across the channels in the cloud and offers a unified customer view.
Most of the organisations have still not adopted an all-out cloud. They are however adopting hybrid cloud architectures. Federation is must for this cloud adoption, to provide not only Single Sign-On Solution but also role based access control.
How Federation solves cloud challenges?
Now even though organisations are becoming more and more aware of the what identity federation is, not many are aware of how exactly this concept fits into their current environment. If analysed further, you will realise that identity federation is all about virtual centralisation of the customer data which is scattered across multiple channels or identity management solutions. The key goal of identity federation is to allow users of one organization to securely access resources of another organisation easily without the need of redundant user administration. This concept requires all the solutions to use the same protocol in order to achieve the maximum profitability.
How identity federation can fit into your current environment?
- Use identity federation to create partnership between multiple remote sites:
The simplest form of identity federation can be seen in the organisation’s ability to allow single sign-on solution over the WAN without having repetitive server hardware and those locations. This implies that an organization can have more than one simple appliances at remote locations which lets the remote node single sign-on capabilities.
- Use identity federation in public cloud:
With federation getting more and more acceptance in the public cloud, PaaS (Platform as a Service) is getting the much desired attention by IT professionals. Using identity federation in public cloud provide customers the ability to access the remote access portals. Moreover, it provides IT admins full control over security policies and PaaS authentication. For eg, a user who just verified himself on a corporate appliance, can easily access Gmail account, Google calendar and other services without needing to provide credentials again.
- Use identity federation in extranet applications:
If identity federation is combined with the cloud for hardware appliances, brands can make use of the products like IBM Websphere Application Servers to ensure their services stay more secure over WAN. In this scenario, single sign-on can be implemented for these extranet applications which will in turn enhance ease of use and smooth customer experience.
- Use identity federation by integrating it with SaaS(Software as a Service):
Integrating identity federation with SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions has become quite common nowadays. By extending the active directory, now organisation can allow users to use Salesforce’s portal and applications without providing additional credentials.
Lastly, first thing first, organisations must understand the huge challenges faced while managing identities. With digitization, SaaS adoption and cloud computing becoming highly popular, adoption of new technologies is must if they want to offer smooth experience to their customers without compromising security.