March 6, 2018

Are you moving toward a cloud-first or even a cloud-only environment? The cost-effectiveness and relative ease of purchasing and deploying cloud solutions means organizations can do more with less. Where tight budgets and limited access to human capital resource are common, cloud computing is ideal. However, to capitalize on this ever-advancing technology, governments and public agencies must securely manage user access to sensitive citizen data.

Successfully managing the adoption of SaaS applications – and securely migrating to a cloud organization – requires identity governance. Identity is what powers the cloud and enables governments and public agencies to securely migrate to a cloud environment while still having full visibility to identity information across the IT infrastructure. Identity solutions govern who has access to applications, systems and data – regardless of where they’re deployed – and empower users to work wherever they are and on whatever device they want to use.

The Power of SaaS-Based Identity

As the public sector becomes more comfortable with moving strategic and mission-critical applications into the cloud, it can feel overwhelming to consider using larger and more complex solutions – such as identity – as a service (SaaS). Even as governments and public agencies migrate toward the cloud, they often “don’t mess around with identity” because they believe they lack the budget, time or skilled identity resources required to implement such a technology. But that’s no longer an inhibitor to implementing a successful identity program. SaaS-based identity governance offers the same security, automation and compliance delivered by enterprise-class on-premises identity solutions, coupled with a low total cost of ownership and rapid deployment.

Are You Ready?

While the benefits of SaaS are clear – faster deployment times, cost savings, simplified management and increased business agility – there are still elements to consider before employing identity governance from the cloud. The following several questions will help you determine if implementing a SaaS-based identity governance solution is the right move for your organization.

Is your organization flexible enough to redefine its approach to identity governance?

First, regardless of how it is deployed, an effective identity governance solution must provide complete visibility across all applications whether they are on-premises or in the cloud. This provides the foundation required to build policies and controls essential for security and compliance with various regulations including IRS Publication 1075, HIPAA and others. It should also include the ability to automate these controls to reduce human error and relieve an overburdened IT. SaaS-based identity governance solves all these identity-related problems – but it does so using a configurable best practices framework approach. For governments and public agencies that may not have the time or expertise to create custom identity policies or compliance processes from scratch, this provides an ideal and rapid approach to identity governance.

Do you have limited resources for administering an identity governance program?

Next, take a look at your organization. Effective identity governance requires an artful blend of people, processes and technology, and deploying a successful solution is both time- and resource-intensive. This is true even with a cloud-based deployment. However, if you have limited resources, either in size or expertise, the cloud is a good option. With zero hardware to upgrade, no software patches or updates to install, or infrastructure to manage, deploying and administering an effective identity governance program becomes exponentially simpler. This makes cloud-based identity governance an ideal option for governments and public agencies that have smaller identity management teams or IT and security teams that don’t have a deep bench of expertise.

Do you have the right vendor?

Identity governance is more than just providing user efficiency through single signon or modifying who has access to what. Effective identity governance answers the questions of which users should have access, what kind of access to which they are they entitled, and what can they do with that access. Thus, it’s important to work with a vendor that possess a deep understanding of the identity management space and can effectively meet your business needs. The vendor should also be invested in your long-term success and approaches the relationship as a partner.

While SaaS-based identity governance is simpler to use, it’s still a complex program that needs to be at the center of your security and compliance efforts. Furthermore, to fully gain all the continuous upgrades and cost benefits of a SaaS deployment, your identity governance vendor needs to offer the solution as a true service versus a hosted version of an on-premises solution. A hosted version does not allow you to realize the cost benefits of splitting infrastructure costs with multiple tenants, whereas a true SaaS-based solution ensures you are using the latest version of available software, and the cost and time to upgrade are essentially non-existent.

Identity governance delivered as a service adds fine-grained control over access to all your cloud-based resources and on-premises applications, while extending secure self-service capabilities out to your user population. With a comprehensive solution, you can use best practices to govern access to all the information that business users need. Use the power of the cloud to limit the risk of inappropriate access and enable a better operational workflow. To learn more, contact us or visit the Identity for Government page.

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