Thriving in a Growing Sea of Connectivity
With businesses working across multiple platforms with multiple users, identity authentication becomes more and more complex. Thousands, millions and eventually billions of access points will start pointing at the same databases and enterprise systems. The only way to manage that scale appears to be an identity hub.
Enterprises need a common, singular endpoint that serves as the enterprise identity provider (IdP). Your IdP will manage the authentication of users from all over and generate authentication tokens for a wide range of service providers that control the resources users access.
Tokens seem to be growing exponentially as more web services, from Google Apps to Salesforce and Infusionsoft, are adopted by enterprises. Each application requires multiple tokens and token translations, expanding as your team expands.
Modern systems need to properly distribute all of these different tokens, and they also need to simultaneously authenticate as many users and user requests that span all of these applications. It takes a significant infrastructure to handle discovery across every authentication source.
Viewing all of this global data and properly processing it, but providing authentication at the local level, is difficult for any system. It becomes simpler when businesses turn to federated identity hubs.
Federated Standards Make Adoption Easier
New enterprise software plus the development of OAuth, OpenID Connect and the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) are making it easier for brands to adopt the identity hub structure to keep their operations safe.
Among the good news is that these protocols and languages are already supporting Single Sign-On (SSO) across web and cloud applications.
To make the process simpler, enterprises need to find a partner that properly develops the IdP and allows it to carry out authentication operations with better data access and more security protections. Operations could include assistance in collecting and collating disparate identity sources or implementing technology like LDAP that can sometimes speed up the process.
Creating a single repository for data is impossible for most firms, and it creates security risks that we saw in past generations. Today, we look for platforms that view all of this data from across different systems and make sense of it. The rationalized view is the desired view.
Keep Global Things Local and Manageable
The common mantra for federated hubs is “Manage Globally, Act Locally.” And it’s 100% correct.
An intelligent hub with a strong local center that can radiate outward as needed allows for the integration of identity and attributes data from each silo you touch. It then generates the internal global list of users and other details. Hubs ebb and flow dynamically, updating information and verifying it as the hub looks at the data for other purposes, such as exclusions or unique expectations for applications.
Changes can be automatically synchronized to provide real-time updates, allowing the IdP to maintain a common identity understanding while each application maintains a level of autonomy. The hub also maintains an understanding of associations, so it can look for gaps or common occurrences — such as accounts with the same user name — to speed up authentication across applications.
Global reference tables allow your system to collect and develop a complete list of information that is used across every connected app or service. This federated identity hub can then be used to produce lists based on applications, instances and much more. Dynamic updates mean that the global master list is managed and maintained, but can then spread its knowledge to each local instance.
Think of this as the center of a tire. All of the force from your engine or pedals is applied to the middle of the tire, while spokes reach out across the tire to deliver impact at the local level, where the rubber meets the road.
Local management can also help your system properly process requests that could be otherwise confusing. There are many common names or identifiers, especially as companies grow. If you have two P. Smiths, but they operate in different business departments, local processing makes things simpler. Your system will look at the app and know who “psmith” is without having to figure out a way to rectify the disparity with a separate “psmith” in another department — a confusion that often arises when processing is done globally.
When activities span multiple applications, the local and global ID management paradigms can monitor situations and speed up the processing on the local level, while maintaining deeper authentication and profiles for your IT team to review as necessary.
Plan for the nth Application
The most important part of developing a federated hub for the future is to build architecture or work with software that operates independently of the number of connections, databases and applications you use.
Nothing can be truly independent, but cloud systems offer the ability to quickly scale, thanks to processing power delivered as a service. Planning for that “nth application” simply means creating a platform that is as flexible as possible and operates to streamline identity infrastructure or processes while maintaining existing environments.
The hub itself needs to look forward far enough to address federation concerns on its own, from digging into granular analysis and interactions or prioritizing certain applications for quick and ready deployment. The focus should be on making your processes smoother today and more flexible to accommodate the changes you’ll need tomorrow.
Contact Optimal IdM Today
Optimal IdM is a full service provider of innovative and affordable identity management software. For help navigating through the complexities of identity authentication and cloud federation software, contact Optimal IdM today!