Identity and Access in the Cloud: Keeping It Simple

Follow a few basic principles for secure access to cloud-based applications.

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There’s no question cloud applications can dramatically simplify and streamline how users get what they need to work effectively. But are you worried about how the cloud can complicate IT, with so many more apps and users in places outside your control? Take a deep breath: You can smooth your journey to the cloud and keep things simple by following a few basic principles for secure access to cloud-based applications. 

Move at Your Own Pace

Chances are your organization wasn’t “born in the cloud.” You probably have plenty of on-premises applications people are still using, even as you make the transition to applications beyond your traditional business perimeter. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you shouldn’t feel rushed to leave existing apps behind in the transition process. What you need are authentication and access tools that let you support a hybrid environment, spanning both on-premises and cloud.

Think you need a different multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution for the cloud than the one you’re currently using on-premises, in anticipation of moving everything to the cloud eventually? Think again. Extending your current MFA solution to the cloud not only makes the most of your existing investment, but gives you more flexibility to move at your own pace. It will also make the transition smoother as you do more in the cloud.

Build a Bridge Across Apps to IT

It may seem like having some applications on-premises and others in the cloud creates a potential security risk. And it certainly can—but it doesn’t have to. Extending a single authentication solution across on-premises and cloud applications bridges islands of identities created by these different types of applications, the various ways they are protected, and the many places they live. One solution gives you broad visibility and control into who has access to what.

Security is a critical concern when moving to the cloud, of course—but it’s not the only one that’s addressed by “bridging” a MFA solution. When everything connects, it’s also easier to deliver on the promise of the cloud to simplify and streamline access—which brings us to our next point.

Deliver a Consistent, Frictionless User Experience

As you move to the cloud, you want the same level of secure access that you have on-premises. But you also don’t want that quest for security to interfere with easy and convenient access for users, anytime, anywhere, from any device. After all, the ability to quickly and effortlessly access resources is a major reason people want to use apps in the cloud in the first place. Why deter that by implementing complex authentication processes? A single, seamless authentication solution helps ensure you won’t have to.

Look for a solution that gives users the freedom to work in whatever way best: Provide a consistent access experience no matter what application they’re using or where that application resides. Moreover, do everything possible to make that experience as frictionless as possible.

Today’s users want to log in and go, with virtually no effort. But organizations also need to keep data secure. Solutions that leverage user behavior and other “behind the scenes” intelligence to differentiate between good users and bad are making this a reality, by minimizing the need for additional authentication and ensuring that access controls are proportional to levels of risk.

Interested in learning how to protect access to your on-premises and cloud applications? Read our RSA SecurID® Access Cloud Access Use Case for more information.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.