Cloud seems to grow more popular every day. According to RightScale's annual cloud report, 93% of organizations surveyed currently run applications or infrastructure on the cloud. The migration to cloud is hardly surprising. Running IT infrastructure and applications in the public or private cloud promises irresistible benefits for businesses, including reduced costs, greater flexibility and scalability.
Cloud is about where your computing resources reside, specifically your applications and data. Many of your applications no longer run on your corporate network in a server room down the hall from your users. Today, your users rely on many software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications every day, as well as internal applications running in a cloud environment like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Your apps have also left the cozy confines of the firewall.
There is no question that cloud is here to stay. Unfortunately, many businesses have begun moving to the cloud without fully considering what effect this paradigm shift will have on their information security. Traditional, enterprise information security was based on the concept of protecting the perimeter of the network. As long as a virtual fence consisting of a firewall and passwords protected network assets, the theory went, intruders would be kept out and data would be protected.
The explosion of mobile users and devices, along with the rise in cloud-based apps, has turned perimeter security on its head. The fact is, applications, devices and data no longer reside within the safety of a secure network. That is just not the way we work any longer.
Leading companies are recognizing the need for an identity-based security regime that goes way beyond outdated firewalls.
Identity is the New Centerpiece of Security
An Identity Defined Security solution must provide secure access for all of your different types of users, including:
Workforce. Your employees need one-click access to all their internal and cloud applications and data from any location or device.
Partner. Your partner ecosystem also needs streamlined access to its data and apps in your cloud.
Customer. You must provide a fluid customer experience for consumers of your cloud services and applications, or they will go elsewhere.
When considering identity and access management (IAM) solutions, look for one built using these design principles:
Federated Architecture. The solution should assume that most of the users, devices and applications connecting to the identity platform reside outside of your network perimeter, like in the cloud.
Standards-Based. SAML, OpenID Connect, and OAuth can all play a major role in securing your cloud resources. SAML is the standard for secure connections to SaaS providers with OpenID Connect coming on strong as an alternative. OAuth is the standard for securing mobile and API resources.
Web, Mobile, API. As you move your apps to the cloud, you can take a new approach to security that allows you to easily secure web, mobile and API resources with a single federation and policy server.
Internet Scale. Just as the cloud provides elasticity to scale, so should your identity solution.
Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) and Software. Deploying software flexibility and configurability is the only way to ensure that a platform actually scales to the complexity of the modern enterprise.
Few businesses today will stick to on-premises IT infrastructure and data just to maintain outdated notions of perimeter security. And no one should have to do that! Instead, make the move to identity-based security and sleep well knowing your data is protected.