This excerpt was pulled from JumpCloud’s “Leveling the Playing Field for SMEs” eBook. The eBook itself dives into topics related to recent workplace changes and modern expectations, as well as how to deal with it all as an IT professional through technology unification, improved onboarding, centralized and secure device management, and the use of multi-factor authentication.
This excerpt is focused on exactly what IT can focus on to create seamless experiences for users within their organization.
SMEs need to create scalable seamless experiences for their employees, customers, and partners, if they hope to compete in the post-pandemic normal and help the world get back on its feet. While everyone has a role to play, the key to IT’s contribution to these scalable experiences is through IT unification, a long-term strategy achieved through identification, incorporation, integration, and, ultimately, consolidation.
- Identification: The first step towards a strategy of IT unification begins with the identification of what makes up the core of the IT stack. This is often a single platform from which all IT resources can be managed, secure, or leveraged: your single source of truth. However, this sometimes consists of a small collection of critical systems that support IT operations at large.
- Incorporation: Make sure all the tools and functionality you need from your core are incorporated throughout your stack. Often, after auditing their architecture tools and functionality and implementing the new platform to fill key gaps, IT admins find there are duplicate functions and areas where they can consolidate.
- Integration: The elements within (and surrounding) an architecture need to work well with one another. Smooth integrations power seamless experiences, from automated onboarding to comprehensive SSO. These are the experiences that empower SMEs to scale.
- Consolidation: Combining tools and vendors where possible to cut down on your infrastructure’s total cost of ownership (TCO) and continue to power even more seamless experiences that support scalability. While it can seem counterintuitive, consolidation reduces the number of integrations, vendors, and platforms you have to work with, creating scalable environments that are light, nimble, and highly efficient.
Through these four phases, IT admins can curate an infrastructure that’s optimized to deliver the scalable seamless experiences that keep them competitive in today’s marketplace. To start on your unification journey, consider the following questions.
How well is your infrastructure positioned to support scalability?
- Can your infrastructure support ongoing change?
- Can it do so flexibly and cost-efficiently?
- Is your directory hosted on-prem or in the cloud?
- How much of your foundational infrastructure is hosted on-premises?
- What would it take to migrate those components to the cloud?
What technology do you need to incorporate into your stack?
- Do you have a tool that can manage your users’ identities?
- How many identities does each user have?
- What would you need to do to reduce that number to one?
- Do you have a tool that manages devices?
- Does that tool grant visibility into all devices accessing corporate data — including mobile and personal devices?
Where can you integrate and consolidate?
- Are your identities and devices managed separately?
- Is your directory separate from your device data?
- Are your directory, IAM, and MDM tools provided by different vendors?
The Switch From Legacy Infrastructure to Modern Infrastructure
One issue that many organizations run into during consolidation involves pre-existing legacy infrastructure.
IT needs to be able to support employees spread across the globe, operating systems spread across devices, and company resources spread across the cloud. Organizations need to invest in the right IT infrastructure, but unfortunately most legacy solutions, while comfortable and seemingly entrenched, are not typically flexible or compatible with modern solutions, making it challenging to integrate or consolidate around legacy infrastructure. Thus, legacy technology can hamper an organization’s ability to unify its stack and develop a competitive edge.
For one, device management has become much more complex compared to the traditional all-Windows shop. To maintain the pace of a modern IT ecosystem, IT admins need a modern device management system that enables them to view what software and apps are installed on remote devices, as well as seamlessly controlling, monitoring, managing, and updating all of it without interrupting users. This sort of modern device management is also beneficial to maintaining compliance and passing audits.
In addition, legacy architecture tends to be fairly scattered in terms of vendors and solution types, which can create data duplication, brittle integrations, and data siloing. While keeping functionality and systems contained within one platform streamlines both management and the end-user experience, a scattered architecture made up of components that have been gathered ad hoc over the years tends to do the opposite. SMEs often find they need to consolidate to deliver seamless experiences and scale.