Don’t take the core elements of identity and access management for granted

Enterprise directories may not be cool anymore, but they are still critical to business operations.

When was the last time you read an analyst report about enterprise directories? Directories just aren’t cool anymore. It is all API’s, cloud, Internet of Things, and mobility. Analyst attention on directories seems to have been thrown into the bin like three-day old fish and spoiled milk. But the reality is all this trendy stuff is really just another way to connect data and users which are stored where? Yes, you guessed it – in directories.

The changing face of the directory

Organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on their online and mobile applications to provide critical services to their users. And they are facing performance and availability challenges because of issues with the underlying directory infrastructure, including:

  • Explosive Growth. The explosion of user identities, devices, and the ability to maintain the responsiveness necessary for a superior user experience is challenging many legacy repositories.
  • Identity Silos. Multiple directories were deployed by different business units over time, which are now causing challenges, including but not limited to, poor user experience, security risk, and increased operational costs.
  • New Requirements. Security requirements are evolving from simple user authentication to tracking detailed login and personalized information associated with dynamic business operations.

 

In addition, some organizations have stopped supporting legacy directories, leaving thousands of customers in a tough situation. Or, if you take the glass half-full view, providing those customers an opportunity to look elsewhere and elevate their Identity and Access Management infrastructure, migrating to a next-generation directory service that gives better performance at a lower cost of ownership.

When every second counts

In an age when people expect anytime, anywhere access, patience is not a virtue anymore. A study from 2015 found that 68 percent of users will abandon an app that doesn’t load in six seconds or less. If the problem is caused by an underperforming directory, then the user experience is going to stink – no matter how cool the interface is.

Availability and data consistency

“Thank you sir, your password has been changed. Please give it about 30-60 minutes before the changes are reflected in your account.” Does anyone remember a customer service rep telling them this? Ever wonder why you needed to wait that long to see the changes made? It’s the directory. In the past, many of us waited, but that’s not an option today. Data must be available and consistent across all nodes, so the next generation directory needs to support real-time data replication and the highest levels of availability.

Smaller footprint

One of the solutions that many organizations have plopped a virtual directory on top of legacy directories to address multiple identity silos and the rapid growth of users and identities. While that does create a single view into all the managed identities, it also adds another layer of complexity, latency and cost into the mix. The optimal solution is one that addresses the underlying performance and scalability issues, while also reducing the overall footprint required for the directory services.

What’s in your data center?   

In the end, it really comes down to a simple question – is your current directory delivering the reliability, data availability, and performance that the business needs? When is “good enough” just not good enough for your applications and user? At what point do the economics (financial and operational) add up to make a change to your directory?


As product marketing manager in CA’s Security business, Rob is responsible for messaging, positioning, and…

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