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Firms aim to integrate cloud technologies with identity management techniques

Rachel Wheeler Archive

One of the most notable applications of data quality is in the area of identity management. Simply put, identity management technology enables IT managers to establish consistent identities for each individual user on a network, making it easy for them to access multiple systems using the same account.

At large corporations, identity management is vital for keeping different segments of large networks segmented. HR employees should only have access to relevant HR information, for example, while accounting employees should only have financial data at their fingertips. Having strong identity management solutions makes it easy for IT departments to manage who sees what information, where and how.

There are two challenges facing IT officials who work on identity management, though. One problem is the difficulty of maintaining data quality. If even a single user is mistakenly identified, that could result in information falling into the wrong hands, where it could be leaked to unauthorized users or compromised to hackers. If companies don't work hard to ensure that their information is distributed properly, trouble could arise.

The other problem is a complicated one - reconciling the ease of modern cloud computing technology with the complexity of identity management. The cloud is designed to make it easy to store data and share it with co-workers and outside clients, but identity management is often a means of inhibiting data flow. How can the two coexist?

What will come of the cloud?
Brien Posey, an expert in the industry who has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities, wrote for TechTarget that the cloud is here to stay, but it may have an adverse effect on IT officials who work in identity management.

"This creates a few problems," Posey said of the cloud. "First, as an organization uses an increasing number of cloud applications, the number of usernames and passwords that users are forced to remember multiplies as well. Although some argue that this separation of accounts improves overall security, real-world experience has shown that users accumulating such a large collection of account credentials may have to remember them by writing all of them down, thus creating a security risk."

Companies must update their technologies to become more adept in the cloud era. CDW recently found that cloud technology is rapidly rising in 2013 - 39 percent of organizations are now implementing or maintaining such solutions, up from 28 percent in 2011. Identity management is still a valuable practice, but it must keep up with the changing times.