By Tanu Sood-Oracle on Nov 12, 2012
Identity and access management (IAM) isn’t a new concept. Over the past decade, companies have begun to address identity management through a variety of solutions that have primarily focused on provisioning. . The new age workforce is converging at a rapid pace with ever increasing demand to use diverse portfolio of applications and systems to interact and interface with their peers in the industry and customers alike. Oracle has taken a significant leap with their release of Identity and Access Management 11gR2 towards enabling this global workforce to conduct their business in a secure, efficient and effective manner.
As companies deal with IAM business drivers, it becomes immediately apparent that holistic, rather than piecemeal, approaches better address their needs. When planning an enterprise-wide IAM solution, the first step is to create a common framework that serves as the foundation on which to build the cost, compliance and business process efficiencies. As a leading industry practice, IAM should be established on a foundation of accurate data for identity management, making this data available in a uniform manner to downstream applications and processes. Mature organizations are looking beyond IAM’s basic benefits to harness more advanced capabilities in user lifecycle management.
For any organization looking to embark on an IAM initiative, consider the following use cases in managing and administering user access.
Expanding the Enterprise Provisioning Footprint
Almost all organizations have some helpdesk resources tied up in handling access requests from users, a distraction from their core job of handling problem tickets. This dependency has mushroomed from the traditional acceptance of provisioning solutions integrating and addressing only a portion of applications in the heterogeneous landscape
Oracle Identity Manager (OIM) 11gR2 solves this problem by offering integration with third party ticketing systems as “disconnected applications”. It allows for the existing business processes to be seamlessly integrated into the system and tracked throughout its lifecycle. With minimal effort and analysis, an organization can begin integrating OIM with groups or applications that are involved with manually intensive access provisioning and de-provisioning activities. This aspect of OIM allows organizations to on-board applications and associated business processes quickly using out of box templates and frameworks. This is especially important for organizations looking to fold in users and resources from mergers and acquisitions.
Simplifying Access Requests
Organizations looking to implement access request solutions often find it challenging to get their users to accept and adopt the new processes.. So, how do we improve the user experience, make it intuitive and personalized and yet simplify the user access process?
With R2, OIM helps organizations alleviate the challenge by placing the most used functionality front and centre in the new user request interface. Roles, application accounts, and entitlements can all be found in the same interface as catalog items, giving business users a single location to go to whenever they need to initiate, approve or track a request.
Furthermore, if a particular item is not relevant to a user’s job function or area inside the organization, it can be hidden so as to not overwhelm or confuse the user with superfluous options. The ability to customize the user interface to suit your needs helps in exercising the business rules effectively and avoiding access proliferation within the organization.
Saving Time with Templates
A typical use case that is most beneficial to business users is flexibility to place, edit, and withdraw requests based on changing circumstances and business needs. With OIM R2, multiple catalog items can now be added and removed from the shopping cart, an ecommerce paradigm that many users are already familiar with. This feature can be especially useful when setting up a large number of new employees or granting existing department or group access to a newly integrated application.
Additionally, users can create their own shopping cart templates in order to complete subsequent requests more quickly. This feature saves the user from having to search for and select items all over again if a request is similar to a previous one.
Advanced Delegated Administration
A key feature of any provisioning solution should be to empower each business unit in managing their own access requests. By bringing administration closer to the user, you improve user productivity, enable efficiency and alleviate the administration overhead. To do so requires a federated services model so that the business units capable of shouldering the onus of user life cycle management of their business users can be enabled to do so.
OIM 11gR2 offers advanced administrative options for creating, managing and controlling business logic and workflows through easy to use administrative interface and tools that can be exposed to delegated business administrators. For example, these business administrators can establish or modify how certain requests and operations should be handled within their business unit based on a number of attributes ranging from the type of request or the risk level of the individual items requested.
Security continues to be a major concern for most organizations. Identity management solutions bolster security by ensuring only the right users have the right access to the right resources. To prevent unauthorized access and where it already exists, the ability to detect and remediate it, are key requirements of an enterprise-grade proven solution. But the challenge with most solutions today is that some of this information still exists in silos. And when changes are made to systems directly, not all information is captured.
With R2, oracle is offering a comprehensive Identity Governance solution that our customer organizations are leveraging for closed loop remediation that allows for an automated way for administrators to revoke unauthorized access. The change is automatically captured and the action noted for continued management.
While implementing provisioning solutions, it is important to keep the near term and the long term goals in mind. The provisioning solution should always be a part of a larger security and identity management program but with the ability to seamlessly integrate not only with the company’s infrastructure but also have the ability to leverage the information, business models compiled and used by the other identity management solutions. This allows organizations to reduce the cost of ownership, close security gaps and leverage the existing infrastructure. And having done so a multiple clients’ sites, this is the approach we recommend.
In our next post, we will take a journey through our experiences of advising clients looking to upgrade to R2 from a previous version or migrating from a different solution.
Meet the Writers:
Praveen Krishna is a Manager in the Advisory Security practice within PwC. Over the last decade Praveen has helped clients plan, architect and implement Oracle identity solutions across diverse industries. His experience includes delivering security across diverse topics like network, infrastructure, application and data where he brings a holistic point of view to problem solving.
Dharma Padala is a Director in the Advisory Security practice within PwC. He has been implementing medium to large scale Identity Management solutions across multiple industries including utility, health care, entertainment, retail and financial sectors. Dharma has 14 years of experience in delivering IT solutions out of which he has been implementing Identity Management solutions for the past 8 years.
Scott MacDonald is a Director in the Advisory Security practice within PwC. He has consulted for several clients across multiple industries including financial services, health care, automotive and retail. Scott has 10 years of experience in delivering Identity Management solutions.
John Misczak is a member of the Advisory Security practice within PwC. He has experience implementing multiple Identity and Access Management solutions, specializing in Oracle Identity Manager and Business Process Engineering Language (BPEL).
Jenny (Xiao) Zhang is a member of the Advisory Security practice within PwC. She has consulted across multiple industries including financial services, entertainment and retail. Jenny has three years of experience in delivering IT solutions out of which she has been implementing Identity Management solutions for the past one and a half years.