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Traditional SMB identity infrastructure vs The New World

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Small and Medium Businesses face interesting ICT challenges. They have exactly the same problems as large enterprise, with far less money available to solve them. This often results in less than ideal security or general solutions, as running the ICT environment often requires general, rather than specific knowledge.

Certification and good practice often go out the door as convenience and a “just good enough” mentality exists.

Thankfully, the new ICT service world can be a welcome relief. Gone are the days where SMBs must have their own Exchange administrators just to be able to have corporate e-mail. Productivity suites include communication platforms and more, at price points that were previously not thought of. Line of Business solutions such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Governance, Risk Management and Compliance are available out of the box as a service – just be willing to align your business to their models, and bring your own internet.

Bring Your Own Device and advances in Operating Systems (such as Microsoft Windows 10) provide far greater ability for organisations to self-support.

Identity services are no different. Popular Productivity and Collaboration platforms often include Identity-as-a-Service capability. UNIFY Solutions itself has removed on-premise directory services, and now uses Microsoft Azure Active Directory as the core user directory. This has allowed light-touch support in-house, instead we now focus on making sure we have good Internet service wherever we go. We also don’t need to focus on redundancy of services – it is in the Identity-as-a-Service provider’s interest to ensure resilience.

UNIFY uses this to federate to other service providers, using well known standards to secure access to applications, knowing that our service providers have ensured good data security models through their certification programs.

Identity-as-a-Service providers do generally focus on extending a directory out to access applications, and rarely supply good workflows at affordable prices for ensuring that directory information is correct. UNIFY’s Identity as a Service offering instead focuses on doing the first mile integration – getting your authoritative identity source information into your corporate directory, whether it is Active Directory on-premise, or a cloud based user directory.

Shane Day

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