Modern IT environments are incredibly diverse, and while this is great for many reasons, it can also make the IT department’s job more difficult. Today’s environments are often comprised of a mixture of on-prem and cloud resources, corporate owned and BYOD devices, varying device and operating system (OS) types such as Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and more.
All of these factors, plus the popularity of hybrid work, add complexity around managing identities and sometimes make it feel like centralized and simplified identity management is out of the question. Luckily, this is not the case at all, though some organizations might need to adjust their infrastructure and tool choices to be more future-proof to achieve a modern and unified identity management strategy. Let’s take a look at why that is and how it can be done.
Centralized Identity Management Barriers
As mentioned above, heterogenous IT environments can be a problem for IT, because resources live in many different places, employees work from all over the world, and there are a plethora of device and OS types out there.
Here’s how some of these factors affect identity management:
- Cloud and on-prem resources: It can be hard to get visibility into who has access to what resources, and SaaS apps might not connect to a traditional directory such as Microsoft AD.
- Hybrid and remote working models: Monitoring, managing, and helping employees that aren’t in the office can be problematic without the proper tools.
- BYOD: Personal devices typically don’t connect back to traditional directory services, and they are sometimes difficult or impossible to manage.
- Mac, Windows, and Linux device popularity: Most tools are meant to help you manage certain device types but not others, making it hard to keep track of and secure devices that employees use.
All of these factors and more contribute to an incomplete, decentralized identity management strategy in many organizations.
Why Centralized Identity Management Is Key
This decentralized approach is often forced on IT, rather than chosen, simply because of the disparate resources that need to be managed on top of the fact that many organizations use outdated or disconnected IT management tools. This strategy (or lack thereof) can quickly turn into a security and compliance nightmare, an unnecessary weight on IT, a fractured employee experience, and a hit to the organization’s bottom line, among other things.
When users and their digital identities are not centrally managed, it’s virtually impossible to get visibility into their resource access privileges, what devices they’re accessing company resources on (whether company-managed or completely unsecured), what problems they might be experiencing, whether their systems are up-to-date or not, and much more. On top of all of this, Shadow IT is as prevalent as ever, which causes even more security hiccups when left unchecked due to poor identity management.
Considering that 84% of organizations experienced at least one identity-related breach in the past year, you can see how far-reaching the effects of the decentralized identity management problem truly are.
To avoid all of this to the furthest extent possible, IT needs centralized control over all identities, access, and devices, while simultaneously allowing departments and employees the flexibility they need to get work done.
How to Centralize Identity Management
So, the end goal is to provide employees with flexibility in where and how they work, while maintaining the amount of control that you want over their digital identities, access, and devices. To do so, you’ll want to centralize the management of all of these things, as much as possible.
Centralized user management provides IT with the control and visibility over every device, application, and network across the organization, without dictating what resources are the right choice for each group. This strategy saves IT time with easier day-to-day workflows, helps ensure compliance, enhances security, and ameliorates the end user experience.
A modern way to centralize identity management is by adding JumpCloud’s open directory platform to the center of your IT infrastructure. The beauty of an open directory is that it can easily connect to all of your existing infrastructure, as well as any other tools (such as other directories, HR tools, and more) you decide to adopt in the future, allowing your business to evolve and scale with ease. This means that with the JumpCloud Directory Platform, you can centrally manage identities, access, and devices, all from a single, modern platform.
Get complete, centralized visibility into employee identities, what they do or do not have access to, and their devices. With JumpCloud’s identity lifecycle management capabilities, enjoy simplified onboarding and offboarding, add users to groups for easy control, keep devices patched and up-to-date, quickly change access levels, and much more. With this solution, your organization still maintains the flexibility it needs to leverage the best devices, applications, and tools on the market. Plus, you can hire the best talent, regardless of their location, without worrying about how it’ll impact security or how IT will manage them.