Last updated: 28 March 2014
Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are fortunate to avoid many of the hassles and bureaucracy that are inevitable for big enterprises. But they often lack the budget and personnel that their larger brethren can throw at business issues — especially IT-related issues.
These days, however, cloud-based technologies are leveling the IT playing field, lowering costs while ensuring rapid deployment and high performance. This means that SMBs can now benefit from enterprise-grade technology for the issues that matter most. And password management is definitely one of the issues that matters most.
Common Challenges in Identity Access Management
When it comes to IT security, your SMB will face many of the same trends that a Fortune 100 company will encounter. At the head of the list for large and small IT departments are the linked trends of bring your own device (BYOD) and bring your own application (BYOA).
SMBs and large organizations also have to carry out a lot of the same functions. The relevant one here is identity access management, which covers everything that a company does to ensure that its employees have access to the computing resources they need, and that only its employees have that access.
Managing password security in the face of BYOD and BYOA is inherently complex. Each new device and application is a potential source of data leaks and security breaches, and IT departments have to figure out how to limit exposure to those risks.
Make no mistake, BYOD and BYOA offer lots of advantages, too, starting with higher productivity. Like the good consumers they are, employees love choosing the smartphones, tablets, and apps that they like best, then using them to their hearts’ content wherever and whenever they want to. It’s no surprise that, as of 2013, about 70% of corporate employees were accessing company data via their personal smartphones or tablets.
Enterprise Password Management: Not Just for Big Enterprises
In the face of these trends, what’s your IT team supposed to do about identity access management?
First, realize that people are people when it comes to password security for their devices and apps. Most employees want to do the right thing, but they also find strong passwords hard to remember. They’ll either choose a trivially simple password like “password” or “123456” (the two most common passwords in use!), write a list of their passwords and keep it somewhere on their desk, or even try to be clever as “Brick” was in the movie Anchorman. Not exactly a high-security approach.
Second, you need to consider the best technology options available today that will make life easier for employees — and your IT team — while reducing these security risks.
The place to start is with cloud-based single-sign on (SSO) systems. Employees like them because they’re easy to set up, and then very easy to use: each person has just one password to remember, not an index card full of them.
SSO also makes life better for the IT team because it makes it easy to deprovision any employee who leaves the company, as well as making it straightforward to carry out usage auditing and data security compliance reporting. Best of all, delivery from the cloud means that the solution is available anywhere — and gives enterprise-grade performance and security to any SMB.
Learn More about Password Management in the Era of BYOA
If you want to know more about how the BYOA trend affects the IT landscape for businesses, check out our ebook on 8 Ways BYOA Is Changing the Workplace.