Halt – Who Goes There? CIOs Need Good Identity Management

CIOs Need To Solve Their ID Management Crisis<p>(c) 2007</p>
CIOs Need To Solve Their ID Management Crisis(c) 2007

As though keeping all of those servers up, applications running, and end users happy seems like enough to make being CIO a full-time job, now CIOs also have to take on the role of data cop? The answer to this question is “yes”, in all honesty, they really should already be doing it. Most company’s most valuable asset, after their employees, is their corporate data. CIOs need to find a way to make sure that they know who is accessing it and why.

Just What Is Identity Management?

Identity management is how an organization controls access to its information based on an individual’s rights and responsibilities. It turns out that most IT shops have been doing a pretty poor job of this.

All too often most of us rely on our old friends Mr. Username and Mr. Password. How many dictionary based cracking events do we need to see in the movies in order to convince us that this is a very poor way to secure our data?

The right way to start to authenticate identities better is to use a second-factor authentication system such as biometrics, tokens, etc. Additionally, using single sign-on technologies can help you bring disparate systems together and save the end users from having to carry around lists of usernames/passwords.

What’s The Best Way To Do Identity Management?

The first step to creating a workable identity management solution is to establish some policies. These policies need to lay out just who is allowed to access what information. Clearly, if you’re not allowed to use some piece of information as a part of your job, then you shouldn’t have access to it.

One of the biggest pitfalls that is found in IT departments today is the existence of multiple different “silos” of data that end up creating a confusing and mixed up environment for access control. Once again, implementing a single-signon solution can solve this problem.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to design and implement a good identity management solution is very much like buying insurance for your IT department. You hope that you don’t really need it, but you know that you probably do and it’s the grown-up thing to do.

Taking the time to solve your identity management issues once and for all will allow a CIOs to have found a way to apply IT to enable the rest of the company to grow quicker, move faster, and do more.

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

More firms are committing to implementing those really BIG process digitization projects. More often than not the CIO will find himself / herself in charge of not only the implementation of the new software application, but also the overall success of the project. How do you go about doing that?