In not much more than the last couple of years, cloud computing has blossomed with an ever expanding variety of incremental functionalities being offered in the “as-a-Service” format. This definition of “service” simply implies that rather than a piece of software being downloaded and permanently installed on any one computer or server, it is supplied in a more live and dynamic format down the “pipe” of the Internet.
From Infrastructure-as-a-Service we can build out Platform-as-a-Service and on top of that we sit out applications in the form of Software-as-a-Service. From here we then start to look at the incremental layers that will help lock down issues including security.
Within the security arena then, the time has arrived when various cloud hosting companies and other ancillary industry vendors want to now sell us Identity-as-a-Service.
Why do we need Identity-as-a-Service?
The concept of Identity-as-a-Service is not hard to grasp and we can take it back to basics. Imagine you use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and various other online services, all of which operate initially independently although with some interconnectivity depending on a user’s preferences.
What if you could sign in to all these websites with a single trusted identity for all the actions you wish to carry out? Technology analysts have suggested that the next breed of applications being developed may now be engineered for compatibility to cloud-based Identity-as-a-Service controls so that we are set free from the burden of creating unique login passwords for the ever growing list of business applications that we use.
This is not anti-virus or malware protection of any kind and so this layer will still be needed. But this is a means of managing all users’ usage of all cloud applications as we ensure that all employees enter and exit through the same doorway. That way we know when they are inside and where they have been – in a virtual cloud-based kind of a way of course!
What will cloud Identity-as-a-Service give us?
If Identity-as-a-Service technologies are adopted widely at the business level then they will potentially allow companies to control application adoption much more quickly. Users’ working environments can be more tightly managed so if a new expenses control application (for example) needs to be put in front of employees then this can be done, securely and under complete control. Productivity should also then naturally increase in this new world of managed identity.
As this technology now develops and companies start to adopt it we have an undeniable opportunity to use it as a leverage point to also control security as a whole. Given obvious considerations of personal privacy and corporate compliance, the more we know about all the users of a company system the better and the safer we will all be.