Better manage your employees' cloud access

Written by
Philip Turner

12 Nov 2015

12 Nov 2015 • by Philip Turner

Business computing is happening everywhere – at our desks, at home, on mobile devices, in watches and cars – and work is transforming rapidly because of it. 

Okta’s recent report shows employees increasingly use work-related mobile phones and tablets to access between 11 and 16 apps. This means organisations — regardless of size, industry and location — are taking steps to enable employees, partners, contractors and even customers with the apps, devices and services they need to be productive, while also securing increasingly mobile workforces.

But while the cloud provides employees with the freedom to choose, control and manage their own applications, businesses now have to contend with a whole host of different devices, not all of which are vetted by the IT and HR departments. 

To overcome these challenges, it’s imperative that the HR department clearly communicates the IT policy as well as which applications are and are not allowed. 

Shadow IT

The use of personal applications for work without explicit organisational approval is a big concern, but it can be controlled. To bring cloud applications out of the shadows, the IT and HR departments must work with employees to provide clarity, visibility and control. 

There are a number of simple steps that HR can take in order to help organisations secure applications and multiple access points. Rather than relying solely on passwords to authenticate users, multifactor authentication can ensure users are who they say they are, reducing the risk of unauthorised access. Another way to safeguard applications is to provide a single-access point to all applications, such as a centralised portal. This enables businesses to quickly and easily automate all customer and partner user management functionality.

Data control

As more employees bring their own devices into the workplace, it’s also important to understand who has access to applications and data, where they are accessing them from and what they are doing with them. So embracing solutions that allow organisations to manage and audit access to the business and supply chain information is a step in the right direction. As such, identity management solutions that assign each user with one identity and give IT or HR departments the ability to control their access, have become an important tool for businesses looking to regain control of their IT security.

Cloud-based identity management provides businesses with a better way to secure and control the magnitude of users, devices and applications that span traditional company and network boundaries. Not only can such technology enable businesses to quickly and securely adapt to the ever-changing environment, but it can provide a significant uplift to employee productivity, collaboration and happiness – providing employees with access to the applications they need, when and where they want them. Also, unlike legacy identity management systems, cloud-based systems are easy to deploy, cost efficient and are easy to integrate with human capital management systems. 

Rather than shying away from the cloud due to security concerns, businesses should look to cloud providers for support and help alleviate any queries surrounding access and control. 

Adopting cloud-based identity management services will not only put business owners’ minds at ease with regards to security worries, but it removes the need for restricting employee access to corporate resources in the cloud.