Table of Contents
In this SPIE, the IAM cloud-tailored model, as pursued by Lighthouse Security Group (LHSG)—an IBM software value-added reseller—is examined.
For many workers, their day starts with system log-ins; and continues with a series of application log-ins, as they move through their work activities. While mundane, but also a nuisance to end users, this act of logging in is essential for IT in managing application software usage and expense; and for security teams in guarding against unauthorized access to restricted resources and data.
Complicating these IT and security objectives has been the steady and, at times, silent fragmentation of control as new applications are added and Software as a Service (SaaS) is adopted. What was once a manageable number of software applications, hosted exclusively in the organization’s dedicated data center, is now an evolving mix of on-premises hosted and SaaS applications, with no unifying access control point. Instead, there are multiple access points; some are controlled while others are not.
This “application creep” is not just a challenge for IT and security teams; process owners and end users also encounter pain. Process owners may find subscriber provisioning of new applications taking longer, and having a greater risk of error than is acceptable. End users are inconvenienced with additional log-in credentials to remember; leading to destruction of passwords’ primary objective of minimizing fraudulent access, as end users substitute simple passwords for complex passwords, and record passwords on sticky notes rather than commit to memory.
Enter Identity & Access Management (IAM). Comprehensive IAM solutions provide a centralized control point for linking user directories (e.g., Microsoft Active Directory) with system and application resources, and facilitating end-user access authorizations and entitlements. In addition to directory-resource linking and end-user access authorizations, there are several administrative and end-user support functions that are also hosted at the IAM control point; they include:
• Subscriber management
- Tracking, alerting, and reporting of access activity
- End-user self-service (e.g., password resets)
- Single sign-on (SSO) and identity federation
- Multi-factor authentication
For the many organizations seeking a coordinated approach to IAM, there are three solution models available:
• On-premises IAM Commercial Software – Traditional Do-It-Yourself (DIY) model of licensing and operating IAM software for single-customer use
• Cloud-tailored – External hosting of commercial IAM software, with IAM capabilities offered as a cloud-delivered subscription service to multiple customers (i.e., SaaS)
• Cloud-designed – Also a multi-customer, cloud-delivered subscription service, but with the IAM functionality purposefully designed for delivery as a cloud service2
As organizations evaluate these model options, the cloud-tailored model is distinctive in its hybrid collection of attributes from both the commercial software and cloud-delivered models. In this SPIE, the IAM cloud-tailored model, as pursued by Lighthouse Security Group (LHSG)—an IBM software value-added reseller—is examined.
IAM: A Growth Market
Before delving into the hybrid value proposition of the IAM cloud-tailored model, a summary view on the market for IAM solutions is prudent, for the simple reason that if market demand for IAM is lackluster or has weak future prospects, then provider investment in any of the models would be conservative and unlikely to produce material innovation. This is not the case. A sample of statements from IAM software vendors and service providers point to a competitive market that is very much on a moderate-to-high growth trajectory.
Cloud-Tailored’s Hybrid Value Proposition
Although model selection will vary by organization, there are several distinctive attributes in IAM that stand out in the comparison of commercial software and cloud-designed models.
The cloud-tailored model, embraced by Lighthouse Security Group with its Lighthouse GatewayTM IAM service, melds the attributes of the commercial software and cloud-designed models as described below.
From Commercial Software
• Proven Functionality – Lighthouse Gateway includes all the features and functionality contained in five of IBM’s IAM software products. Those IBM software products include: IBM Security Access Manager, IBM Federated Identity Manager, IBM Security Identity Manager, IBM Directory Integrator, and IBM Directory Server. Some of these software products have been in the market and used by enterprises for or more years.
• Customizable – Through the Lighthouse Gateway admin console—Gateway Manager—customers have point-and-click tools to customize their IAM system (applications and directories) and establish policies across the entire range of IBM product capabilities; as well as the capabilities LHSG has incorporated into the Lighthouse Gateway service (e.g., ad-hoc reporting and auditing). Naturally, there are limits to customization; Lighthouse Gateway customers cannot add third-party software components, as they could in the commercial software model.
• Segmentation and Dedicated Resources – As a multi-tenant cloud service, Lighthouse Gateway will not have the same degree of physical segmentation and dedicated resources (e.g., server and bandwidth capacity) that is possible with the commercial software model.
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