Report: IT departments need identity solutions for cloud services

March 14, 2012

Businesses in almost every sector are adopting the cloud and realizing measurable cost saving and productivity benefits. Although enterprises have a wide range of cloud-based services to choose from, the Software-as-a-Service model has become immensely popular, allowing them to reduce software licensing fees, improve scalability and increase flexibility.

However, while the transition to widespread SaaS use has continued, many IT professionals are having difficulty restricting access to cloud-based software and are losing control over such applications, according to a recent NetworkWorld report.

"Because it's being done outside of IT, the kind of discipline and access control best practices do not normally get done. The more SaaS applications that an organization starts to adopt, the more they start to see security weaknesses crop up," industry expert Jackie Gilbert told the news source. "We're poised to see more auditor attention and more security directed at this problem."

Gilbert added that many IT departments are finding it challenging to control user access to cloud applications when the software is purchased and managed by another department in their organization. NetworkWorld explained several signs that a business' identity and access management solution isn't sufficient for ensuring its private data is protected in SaaS environments.

According to the report, one common sign an IT department has lost control over its cloud applications is when users begin writing physical notes to remind themselves of the multiple usernames and passwords needed to access various programs. The source said one solution is to create a single sign-on system for all of the company's SaaS applications. Additionally, it's common for employees to leave an enterprise but still have access to its cloud software, leaving the business vulnerable to data loss, including the exposure of private information and intellectual property.

As cloud computing has become more popular, securing company data and controlling access to critical applications and information has matured as a significant issue. Despite many IT departments having concerns about protecting data in the cloud, most experts say adopting cloud security best practices and advanced security technology can create a safe cloud computing environment. With multiple recent studies revealing that enterprises expect to add cloud services at a record pace this year, it seems most businesses are less worried about the cloud's perceived security issues and more attracted to its proven advantages.

-McAfee Cloud Security