Until relatively recently, it’s only been B2C businesses that have needed to think about the delivery of digital services to the home. But B2B businesses, whose workforces are increasingly working from home, are also having to incorporate this within their BAU.
The movement towards homeworking
This has been driven by macro trends, such as the need to accommodate more flexible working practices and the opportunity to access a greater pool of geographically dispersed talent. And as we’ve seen recently, homeworking can also be an essential tool for maintaining business continuity. But its not easy to translate your IT delivery from a managed workstation within a secure office environment to someone’s personal laptop on the kitchen table.
What role does IAM play?
Your organisation’s identity and access management (IAM) solution is central to this. It is, quite literally, the key to your business’ security; the facilitator of access to your organisation’s services; and a window into your patterns of use – and misuse. An IAM solution that treats homeworkers as edge cases – or not at all – will become an obstacle to progress by locking your organisation into an office-based mode of delivery.
And so, when thinking about IAM strategy in the context of homeworking, its useful to reflect on the following key considerations.
Key IAM considerations to support homeworking
First, your IAM solution needs to be designed for the internet, not just the intranet. It can no longer be locked away behind the corporate firewall, because you can’t predict where your users are connecting from. This is partly about security, for obvious reasons, but also availability: it makes no sense for your highly available, cloud-based services to be reliant on relatively fragile components, such as your business’ internet connection. It’s therefore important that your IAM solution can align with your organisation’s infrastructure strategy – whether that’s public cloud, private, or hybrid – so that your service delivery is not constrained by the solution’s preferred deployment model.
Policies are key
Secondly, an IAM solution is only as effective as the policies it can express and implement. For example, if its policy language can’t express the location of a user, you can’t control access to the known geographies where your users reside. Similarly, if you can’t calibrate your step-up authentication to invoke MFA when it’s actually needed, you’ll create needless hassle for the majority of users accessing less sensitive services.
Be mindful of unique circumstances
An IAM solution designed primarily for a traditional corporate environment will tend to facilitate policies intended for that environment. And so, when thinking about your IAM solution, think carefully about the kinds of policies that are relevant to your business’ unique circumstances; and be sure that your solution can implement them.
Future proof your IAM
Finally, be aware that a successful IAM solution will become deeply embedded within your digital architecture. But if that solution is not amenable to change, it’s very success will eventually become an impediment, by tying your organisation to earlier technologies and paradigms if it is unable to keep pace with change. As the saying goes, prediction is hard, especially of the future. It’s important, therefore, that your IAM solution gives you the means to evolve and extend your capabilities in unanticipated directions.
In summary, provisioning IAM to non-traditional work settings – whether that’s working from home or a joint venture with a competitor – is hard because these environments, by their very nature, are hard to control. Focus on finding a solution that gives you option to accommodate this unpredictability; and a trustworthy partner who understands your business and can steer you in the right directions.
Able+ is an intuitive identity and access management solution, which is built by experts with the modern organisation in mind. If you would like to speak to one of our expert consultants about how we can help you future proof your IAM provisions, please get in touch today.