Thursday, December 12, 2013

What comes after IDM?

People often ask me what comes after Identity Management? My answer is that it depends.

As I've discussed before, it's really up to what the organization requires and simply tacking on new workflows, approvals, and functionality is only really useful if it will actually be used.  However, I think we can make a few generalizations about what might occur as part of a far reaching and comprehensive IdM program.

Assuming that the initial project succeeded in its goal of creating an authoritative data store and basic provisioning, there's always the goal of adding more applications and additional attributes in existing applications that can be provisioned as part of workflow.

Password management is always popular.  If your application allows password provisioning or linking into a SSO or password management solution, this is a great place to add in further automation.  Your organization's help desk will appreciate it, I'm sure.

Adding in a compliance solution (sometimes referred to a certification or attestation) is always something organizations look into as a part of that overall IdM program. Some applications such as SailPoint IIQ have this built in, while others such as SAP GRC or Oracle Identity Governance are separate, but complementary modules to the Identity Management offering.

However what I think is one of the key places that the IdM program manager should be looking at is automation of IT processes. Every day the Help Desk and the System/Network administrators are using untrackable and un-auditable tools for editing user accounts. IT Management and Audit staff have no idea exactly what these people are doing as they are on the job.  At the very least, there is the possibility that users will be accidentally granted the wrong entitlements, and in the worst case, there could be the creation of undocumented SuperUsers. If we can direct these actions through the user provisioning application, then we can have an audit trail that tells us:

  • Who was worked with
  • What was done to them
  • Who did the work
  • When the work happened

It also becomes a lot easier to do these tasks when they are placed in the IdM solution.  This lets our Server Admin and Help Desk teams work on the more detailed analysis and troubleshooting that they were hired for rather than mundane user management, all while creating a more secure and audited environment.
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