Identity Management is About Empowering Your People

I’m speaking about Identity Management at the Massive Technology show in Vancouver this week and I’ve got to tell you, I’m feeling excited.

 “Identity Management” (IDM) gets a bad rap. When the phrase pops up in a conversation, people’s eyes may glaze over and they start checking their Tweet-decks.

But I think organizations ought to be talking about it a lot more, because the business benefits from IDM can be so huge. Besides, the process involved in getting there can be awfully interesting.

IDM is all about empowering your organization through division of responsibilities and development of workable processes. This involves some tough but interesting questions that managers have to consider.

1. What’s the IDM process for hiring and firing? Will untrained staff be given the automatically to applications that they will be expected to use? Are systems in place to automatically remove access to online and desktop systems for potentially-disgruntled, fired-two-minutes-ago employees?

2. How much access do outside consultants get? By default, do consultants get a user account and access to the company’s database? Email? What happens when their contract ends? If they are hired again later, do they have to go through a process again to gain access to internal company information?

3. How much do you restrict access for administrators? Admins need access to do their job and make things easier for the people who don’t much care about the IDM system so long as it works well in the background. Perhaps they could be given access to email databases just in case a message needs to be found or recovered. But what if an executive is working on a sensitive multi-million dollar M&A deal? Should any IT staff member have access to that information?

These are just a few questions an organization needs to consider before choosing its IDM technology, really just the tip of the iceberg. As with many business challenges, the big questions involve the people and processes. Technology is secondary.