Tuesday Jul 02, 2013

Taking the training wheels off: Accelerating the Business with Oracle IAM by Brian Mozinski (Accenture)

Today, technical requirements for IAM are evolving rapidly, and the bar is continuously raised for high performance IAM solutions as organizations look to roll out high volume use cases on the back of legacy systems.  Existing solutions were often designed and architected to support offline transactions and manual processes, and the business owners today demand globally scalable infrastructure to support the growth their business cases are expected to deliver.

To help IAM practitioners address these challenges and make their organizations and themselves more successful, this series we will outline the:

• Taking the training wheels off: Accelerating the Business with Oracle IAM
The explosive growth in expectations for IAM infrastructure, and the business cases they support to gain investment in new security programs.

• "Necessity is the mother of invention": Technical solutions developed in the field
Well proven tricks of the trade, used by IAM guru’s to maximize your solution while addressing the requirements of global organizations.

• The Art & Science of Performance Tuning of Oracle IAM 11gR2
Real world examples of performance tuning with Oracle IAM

• No Where to go but up: Extending the benefits of accelerated IAM
Anything is possible, compelling new solutions organizations are unlocking with accelerated Oracle IAM

Let’s get started … by talking about the changing dynamics driving these discussions.

Big Companies are getting bigger everyday, and increasingly organizations operate across state lines, multiple times zones, and in many countries or continents at the same time.  No longer is midnight to 6am a safe time to take down the system for upgrades, to run recon’s and import or update user accounts and attributes.  Further IT organizations are operating as shared services with SLA’s similar to telephone carrier levels expected by their “clients”.  Workers are moved in and out of roles on a weekly, daily, or even hourly rate and IAM is expected to support those rapid changes.  End users registering for services during business hours in Singapore are expected their access to be green-lighted in custom apps hosted in Portugal within the hour.  Many of the expectations of asynchronous systems and batched updates are not adequate and the number and types of users is growing.

When organizations acted more like independent teams at functional or geographic levels it was manageable to have processes that relied on a handful of people who knew how to make things work …. Knew how to get you access to the key systems to get your job done.  Today everyone is expected to do more with less, the finance administrator previously supporting their local Atlanta sales office might now be asked to help close the books for the Johannesburg team, and access certification process once completed monthly by Joan on the 3rd floor is now done by a shared pool of resources in Sao Paulo.  

Fragmented processes that rely on institutional knowledge to get access to systems and get work done quickly break down in these scenarios.  Highly robust processes that have automated workflows for connected or disconnected systems give organizations the dynamic flexibility to share work across these lines and cut costs or increase productivity.

As the IT industry computing paradigms continue to change with the passing of time, and as mature or proven approaches become clear, it is normal for organizations to adjust accordingly. Businesses must manage identity in an increasingly hybrid world in which legacy on-premises IAM infrastructures are extended or replaced to support more and more interconnected and interdependent services to a wider range of users. The old legacy IAM implementation models we had relied on to manage identities no longer apply.

End users expect to self-request access to services from their tablet, get supervisor approval over mobile devices and email, and launch the application even if is hosted on the cloud, or run by a partner, vendor, or service provider.

While user expectations are higher, they are also simpler … logging into custom desktop apps to request approvals, or going through email or paper based processes for certification is unacceptable.  Users expect security to operate within the paradigm of the application … i.e. feel like the application they are using.

Citizen and customer facing applications have evolved from every where, with custom applications, 3rd party tools, and merging in from acquired entities or 3rd party OEM’s resold to expand your portfolio of services.  These all have their own user stores, authentication models, user lifecycles, session management, etc.  Often the designers/developers are no longer accessible and the documentation is limited.  Bringing together underlying directories to scale for growth, and improve user experience is critical for revenue … but also for operations.

Job functions are more dynamic.... take the Olympics for example.  Endless organizations from corporations broadcasting, endorsing, or marketing through the event … to non-profit athletic foundations and public/government entities for athletes and public safety, all operate simultaneously on the world stage.  Each organization needs to spin up short-term teams, often dealing with proprietary information from hot ads to racing strategies or security plans.  IAM is expected to enable team’s to spin up, enable new applications, protect privacy, and secure critical infrastructure.  Then it needs to be disabled just as quickly as users go back to their previous responsibilities.

On a more technical level …
Optimized system directory; tuning guidelines and parameters are needed by businesses today. Business’s need to be making the right choices (virtual directories) and considerations via choosing the correct architectural patterns (virtual, direct, replicated, and tuning), challenge is that business need to assess and chose the correct architectural patters (centralized, virtualized, and distributed)

Today's Business organizations have very complex heterogeneous enterprises that contain diverse and multifaceted information. With today's ever changing global landscape, the strategic end goal in challenging times for business is business agility. The business of identity management requires enterprise's to be more agile and more responsive than ever before. The continued proliferation of networking devices (PC, tablet, PDA's, notebooks, etc.) has caused the number of devices and users to be granted access to these devices to grow exponentially. Business needs to deploy an IAM system that can account for the demands for authentication and authorizations to these devices.

Increased innovation is forcing business and organizations to centralize their identity management services. Access management needs to handle traditional web based access as well as handle new innovations around mobile, as well as address insufficient governance processes which can lead to rouge identity accounts, which can then become a source of vulnerabilities within a business’s identity platform. Risk based decisions are providing challenges to business, for an adaptive risk model to make proper access decisions via standard Web single sign on for internal and external customers,. Organizations have to move beyond simple login and passwords to address trusted relationship questions such as: Is this a trusted customer, client, or citizen? Is this a trusted employee, vendor, or partner? Is this a trusted device?

Without a solid technological foundation, organizational performance, collaboration, constituent services, or any other organizational processes will languish. A Single server location presents not only network concerns for distributed user base, but identity challenges. The network risks are centered on latency of the long trip that the traffic has to take. Other risks are a performance around availability and if the single identity server is lost, all access is lost.

As you can see, there are many reasons why performance tuning IAM will have a substantial impact on the success of your organization.  In our next installment in the series we roll up our sleeves and get into detailed tuning techniques used everyday by thought leaders in the field implementing Oracle Identity & Access Management Solutions.

About

Oracle Identity Management is a complete and integrated next-generation identity management platform that provides breakthrough scalability; enables organizations to achieve rapid compliance with regulatory mandates; secures sensitive applications and data regardless of whether they are hosted on-premise or in a cloud; and reduces operational costs. Oracle Identity Management enables secure user access to resources anytime on any device.

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