It’s time to get your head out of the clouds!

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For those of you who know me, you are probably thinking “Why on earth would we be wanting to get our heads out of the “Cloud” when all you’ve been telling me for years now is the need to adopt cloud!

This is true for the most part, but my point here is many businesses are being flooded by service providers in every direction to adopt or subscribe to their “cloud” based offering, furthermore ICT budgets are being squeezed forcing organisations into SaaS applications. The question that is often forgotten is the how? What do you need to access any of these services? And the answer is, an Identity!

It is for this reason I make the title statement. For many organisations, preparing to utilise a cloud offering` can require months if not years of planning and implementing organisational changes to better enable the ICT teams to offer such services to the business. Historically “enterprises” use local datacentres and infrastructure to provide all business services, where everything is centrally managed and controlled locally. Controlling access to applications is as easy as adding a user to a group for example. But to utilise any cloud service you need to take a step back and get your head back down on ground zero, look at whether your environment is suitably ready. Do you have an automated simple method of providing seamless access to these services, do you need to invest in getting your business “Cloud Ready”?

image1This is where Identity comes to the front and centre, and it’s really the first time for a long time now Identity Management has become a centrepiece to the way a business can potentially operate. This identity provides your business with the “how’ factor in a more secure model.

So, if you have an existing identity management platform great, but that’s not to say it’s ready to consume any of these offerings, this just says you have the potential means. For those who don’t have something in place then welcome! Now I’m not going to tell you products you should or shouldn’t use, this is something that is dictated by your requirements, there is no “one size fits all” platform out there, in fact some may need a multitude of applications to deliver on the requirements that your business has, but one thing every business needs is a strategy! A roadmap on how to get to that elusive finish line!

A strategy is not just around the technical changes that need to be made but also around the organisational changes, the processes, and policies that will inevitably change as a consequence of adopting a cloud model. One example of this could be around the service management model for any consumption based services, the way you manage the services provided by a consumption based model is not the same as a typical managed service model.

And these strategies start from the ground up, they work with the business to determine their requirements and their use cases. Those two single aspects can either make or break an IAM service. If you do not have a thorough and complete understanding of the requirements that your business needs, then whatever the solution being built is, will never succeed.

So now you may be asking so what next? What do we as an organisation need to do to get ourselves ready for adopting cloud? Well all in all there are basically 5 principles you need to undertake to set the foundation of being “Cloud Ready”

  1. Understand your requirements
  2. Know your source of truth/s (there could be more then one)
  3. Determine your central repository (Metaverse/Vault)
  4. Know your targets
  5. Know your universal authentication model

Now I’m not going to cover all these in this one post, otherwise you will be reading a novel, I will touch base on these separately. I would point out that many of these you have probably already read, these are common discussion points online and the top 2 topics are discussed extensively by my peers. The point of difference I will be making will be around the cloud, determining the best approach to these discussions so when you have your head in the clouds, you not going to get any unexpected surprises.