Beyond The Firewall: Securing Cloud Apps
The adoption of cloud-based applications has been explosive within enterprises over the past few years. Last year, Gartner reported that some 80 percent of organizations said they'll be using cloud services in some form by the end of August 2014. This move to the cloud forces enterprises to rethink their identity and access management strategy as security perimeters move beyond the firewall.
This blog on securing cloud and SaaS apps is the first of six trends that I will be writing about over the next few weeks. The series is based on a webinar and companion paper, Beyond the Firewall: How a New IAM Architecture Takes Your Business Forward (listen to the recording or read the white paper), that my colleague, David Gorton, hosted last month.
The growth in cloud-based apps and SaaS architectures is driven both by organizations seeking more efficient and effective ways to run their business while improving workforce productivity, as well as by well-meaning employees looking for better task proficiency via SaaS apps. But the trend cuts even deeper. According to Forrester Research's 2014 predictions, "A great digital experience is no longer a nice-to-have; it's a make-or-break point for your business as we more fully enter the digital age."
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This fundamental shift of business to the cloud has many repercussions for security and compliance:
This next generation IAM solution must include the following characteristics in order to handle access and security demands when applications move to the cloud, including:
A great example of a company facing many of these challenges is Equinix, the world's largest data center provider. They found that their fast growing number of applications led to too many usernames and passwords and, ultimately, to a negative impact on employee productivity. When they addressed these challenges with a next gen IAM solution, they gained back two weeks of employee productivity per month (check out the Equinix infographic).
Tell us about your experiences and share your thoughts. How many passwords do you have to juggle? How many SaaS applications do you use on a regular basis for your work? Have you had any security breaches or challenges related to password proliferation?
Next up: Addressing the security risks posed by use of traditional WAM systems to manage the exploding number of APIs used by native mobile applications and HTML5 pages.
For more on specific "Beyond the Firewall" topics, check out: