The growing number of web-enabled applications and the changing roles of different user communities creates challenges for the modern enterprise. These challenges include controlling access to network resources, maintaining the consistency of user identity between different applications, and making new applications easy to manage.
Companies typically develop and implement network applications in individual silos. Each application is deployed with its own provisioning and identity-management interfaces, and with its own security systems. This method of deployment results in a heterogeneous environment with no centralized management systems and no flexibility to scale as the enterprise changes. The silo approach to deployment can negate the benefits of Internet applications, and instead increase the costs of deployment, administration, and ownership. The silo approach can also expose the enterprise to security risks.
As companies deploy electronic business applications and services, management costs for existing information technology systems escalate. Identity information and security policies are distributed across many applications, and repositories are controlled by a variety of internal and external groups. The need for more flexible access and stronger security is hampered by administration redundancies. Administration redundancies can result in inconsistent identity data across the enterprise, increased operating costs, and an ad hoc security strategy.
OpenSSO Enterprise can help to ease the problems associated with the silo approach to deployment.
Environments with disparate sources of identity information have different approaches for organizing user entries, security practices, access control, and other essential aspects of information architecture. As complicated as internal identity issues can be, identity management issues also extend outside the individual enterprise. Enterprises with affiliate business and consumer relationships potentially have user populations that reach into the tens or hundreds of millions. You can use OpenSSO Enterprise in a federated identity management model to manage your business affiliate's users, and to ensure efficient and secure operating policies between your company and its business partners. The enterprise must also extend privacy and ease of use to the consumer and must consider the scalability requirements necessary to effectively manage hundreds of millions of users
When new applications are deployed without a common identity infrastructure, security decisions are often made in an ad hoc manner by developers and system administrators. Line-of-business managers cannot ensure that the right people see the right content at the right time. Managers must enforce security policies centrally and apply them locally. Security policies define how users are identified or authenticated, and also which users are authorized to access specific information.
Some services or transactions require stronger forms of authentication than others. For some applications, a name and password might be sufficient. Other applications, for example, those that enable high-value financial transactions, can require increased levels of security. These stronger levels of security can be in the form of a digital certificate and personal identification number (PIN), depending on the information and transactions involved.
Authorization to view certain uniform resource locators (URLs) should be restricted to different sets of users based on the users roles. When roles change, changes to privileges should be propagated across all systems. For example, when an employee changes departments or leaves the company, information about that user should be modified or deleted across all accounts immediately. Inconsistent processes for account deactivation is one of the major security risks that enterprises face every day. When you develop applications with your own individual security and access controls, OpenSSO Enterprise provides a centralized security policy and infrastructure to mitigate the risks from both internal users and external threats.
Scattered identity data, duplication of identity infrastructure functions across multiple applications, and random security contribute to operational inefficiencies across the enterprise. As companies bring new applications and services online, they often create a separate identity infrastructure for each one. This duplication of effort increases costs, delays time to market, and reduces revenues.
New applications must be able to leverage the identity infrastructure easily and quickly, without affecting how existing services or systems work. As your company delivers new products and services, you can count on OpenSSO Enterprise to update role definitions and access privileges across multiple partners, suppliers, and customers. OpenSSO Enterprise provides an integrated identity management infrastructure solution that delivers economies of scale that lead to better overall operational efficiencies.
When you use OpenSSO Enterprise to extend your current infrastructure, you can bring together disparate identity data into a managed network identity to better serve customers, suppliers, employees, and partners.
For the enterprise, network identity enables employees who have single sign-on (SSO) capability to access disparate applications, such as benefits registration and provisioning. At the same time, network identity simplifies integration between applications, and sets security levels across all of them.
For customer management, network identity can assist in capturing customer interactions. This ensures tighter one-to-one relationships, including access to custom offerings, affinity marketing, and data mining.
For the business partner, network identity helps provide integrated enterprise relationships with reduced risk of fraudulent transactions.
Common identity infrastructures enable administrators to consolidate redundant tasks that normally occur across many applications by multiple administrators. This consolidation of administration makes it possible to consistently delegate management tasks to partners, customers, and internal company departments based on business requirements. The result is an environment that is integrated, flexible, easy to manage, and secure. Security implementations and access control rules that are typically contained within each application can be consolidated to provide centralized authentication and authorization to resources.
The transition to an intelligent applications infrastructure requires you to implement a system that incorporates access management and user management. This implementation lets you centralize the administration or management of user identity and security policy information across multiple resources and enterprise applications. You can expect to respond to the ever-changing network environments and applications with an integrated, cost-effective solution.