Identity management key to browser-based IT strategy

Case study

Identity management key to browser-based IT strategy

Warwick Ashford

A cloud-based identity management system is key to enabling a browser-based IT strategy at online recruitment firm Reed.co.uk.

The firm was spun out of the wider Reed organisation, and set about developing its own IT systems in 2012 that would best fit the needs of an online business.

The new company decided on a “browser-first” approach to providing services to its staff to cut cost and maximise flexibility, said Mark Ridley, director of technology at Reed.co.uk.

This approach means deploying best-of-breed applications that are available as cloud-based or software as a service (SaaS) options, rather than traditional installed software that would require on-site servers and hardware.

Getting the identity management side of this in place was a necessary first step, said Ridley.

Cloud-based identity management

But one of the biggest complaints about the Reed legacy systems was the “bullying” password requirements, he told the Whitehall Media Identity Management 2013 conference in London.

Ridley and his team were determined to find an alternative that would eliminate staff writing down passwords and reduce the number of password resets.

After consulting staff and reviewing the options, the company implemented a cloud-based identity management platform from OneLogin for its 250 staff.

The system means that employees get secure access to all their browser-based applications via a portal, while having to remember only one password at any given time.

At the same time, OneLogin provides a complete access audit trail and has enabled the IT team to streamline the management of user identities and access requests for all applications.

These include SAP BusinessByDesign, Google Apps, SalesForce and Jive Software, which are now available through the OneLogin portal.

User-centric approach delivers greater security

Because employees no longer have to remember multiple passwords, it also means that the single password can be more complex and changed on a regular basis to afford greater security, Ridley told Computer Weekly.

“Technology decisions have come mainly from putting people at the centre of our requirements,” he said, adding that security is also an implicit requirement.

For example, while Microsoft Office 365 provided everything the company needed, Active Directory integration was more difficult to understand than Google App Sync.

After the implementation of OneLogin, the issue of access has fallen out of the top 10 suggestions for improvement

Mark Ridley, Reed.co.uk

Google Apps also provided a consistent and good user experience and users are able to benefit from continual improvements.

This user-centric approach has meant that flexible access to IT systems is no longer raised as an issue by staff in internal surveys.

After the implementation of OneLogin, the issue of access has fallen out of the top 10 suggestions for improvement, said Ridley.

He believes this is good from a security point of view, because if people find security systems difficult to use, they tend to find ways around them.

This is among the reasons Ridley has set up a team to evaluate continually how technology supports the business processes.

As far as data protection regulations are concerned, as experienced outsourcers, the Reed.co.uk IT team has ensured that contracts specify where and how data is stored, where necessary.

“With every outsourcing contract, we assess whether it is necessary to ensure data is stored in an EU or UK datacentre only, and specify that if it is,” said Ridley.


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