Flex streamlines app access for 20k suppliers with IAM overhaul

Contract manufacturer Flex dumped its distributed identity and access management system for a more centralized, cloud-based option that better protects data and intellectual property.

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As a contract manufacturer for over 1,000 customers, including some of the world's largest technology companies, Flex Ltd a few years ago needed a more secure way to manage supplier access to its systems.

The company's thousands of supply chain partners, scattered around the globe, ranged in size from tiny mom-and-pop outfits with little more than a Gmail address to large global companies. Many used multiple accounts and systems for accessing apps at Flex and the company had no centralized way to manage passwords or for provisioning and de-provisioning supplier access to its network. Flex's ability to detect suspicious and abnormal activity was also limited because of the highly distributed nature of its identity and access environment for suppliers. 

An IAM overhaul

With the lessons of the massive breach at Target—caused by hackers using network credentials stolen from a partner—still relatively fresh, leaders at Flex decided to overhaul the company's identity and access management (IAM) infrastructure for suppliers.

Flex executives wanted to make sure that critical intellectual property (IP) and data belonging to customers for whom it was designing, building and distributing products remained safe on its systems. The company also wanted to ensure a better experience for suppliers accessing its cloud and on-premises apps. "We needed to set things right for more visibility and also for more user-friendliness for suppliers to engage with us," says Fritz Wetschnig, CISO and vice president enterprise information technology at Flex.

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