Identity Fabric

How an identity fabric eliminates the challenge of multiple clouds

Image of colourful fabric

In a recent Dark Reading article, Strata Identity’s Head of Standards, Gerry Gebel, discusses the proliferation of identities and how their management has become extremely cumbersome. He explains how to securely manage identities from on-premises applications and multi-cloud using an Identity Fabric. This Dark Reading article shows how Identity Fabric eliminates the challenge of multiple, siloed, and proprietary identity systems.

“The sheer number of identities that organizations must manage is nothing less than mind-boggling. In some cases, the figure can extend into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of people and devices. Historically, these identities would be spread across several internal “identity silos” that were hardcoded to business applications, legacy identity infrastructure, or a specific data center.”

As Gebel points out, the complexity of managing identities continues to grow as companies adopt multiple cloud platforms. Every time a new application or cloud platform is added, another silo of identities is created. Companies are now left with a complex mix of legacy applications with hard-coded identity systems along with cloud-based identity silos for their new applications.

The solution to this ever-growing challenge is to adopt what he calls a “holistic and streamlined approach” to identity management. With visibility across the entire enterprise environment, you can unify access and control which leads to greater security and more effective governance. How is this accomplished?

“That’s where an Identity Fabric, the next generation of identity access management (IAM), comes in. By connecting identity silos and unifying tasks, organizations typically trim costs, reduce staff time spent managing IDs, and, most importantly, boost security and compliance.”

In a nutshell, an identity fabric enables orchestration of disparate environments allowing for consistent identity and access policy management across the network. The article points out several key pieces of functionality:

  • Centrally defined policies are disseminated to target systems in their native runtime formats. This facilitates more efficient management for user access.
  • API-based fabric framework allows the use of existing APIs to reduce or eliminate the need for custom coding. Legacy applications will benefit from this capability because most of them are hardcoded to legacy identity management systems.
  • Specific applications that require multifactor authentication (MFA) are routed by the fabric to the proper MFA provider for processing. Therefore, there is no compromise in the level of security needed for any application.
  • No interruption to access management. The fabric routes users to the correct identity system for a particular business application.
  • Simplifies application migrations from a data center to a cloud or from one cloud platform to another.

As companies expand to multi-cloud environments, their identity management issues are compounded significantly. The Identity Fabric is a logical solution that is cloud-native and removes the need for multiple, siloed, or proprietary identity systems. Gebel further points out that the Identity Fabric strips away the manual aspects of IAM and the security and compliance challenges that can accompany it.

Read Gerry Gebel’s full Dark Reading article about using an Identity Fabric to bridge on-premises applications and applications on cloud platforms.

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