Identity Management Goes Mobile

Organizations need robust identity management that protects the enterprise across all devices without compromising the user experience

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Today’s workforce is defined by a familiar mantra: business users expect to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, while using any device, all without limitations. As such, mobile devices are rapidly becoming the conduit into the enterprise. However, these expectations for seamless access to information puts a strain on IT to create and support an environment where expectations meet reality.

The kicker? Users expect that experience to remain the same as they switch from their desktop interface to their smartphone or from their smartphone to a tablet, and back again, often multiple times per day. And, in some instances, users are not even using their own devices to access cloud-based applications and data – meaning that traditional mobile device management solutions alone don’t provide the functionality required for truly seamless access.

It’s not just a functional issue. Often, security concerns keep businesses from fully realizing the advantage of mobile applications.

To change those perceptions, and enable the increasingly mobile user base, organizations need to embrace a robust identity management solution that protects the enterprise while making it easier for employees to consistently access their preferred browser-based and native mobile apps. Modern mobile identity management solutions should provide single sign-on capabilities for accessing both cloud-based and legacy applications and systems.

Single sign-on might be more important than some IT leaders think, especially when considering the number of cloud-based apps alone that a workforce accesses on a daily basis. In 2015, enterprise organizations ran an average of 18 cloud applications. By 2017, that number will nearly triple (52). Each app requires credentials, and with a fraction of these apps on a user’s device, sign-on can rapidly become a daunting, time-consuming task.

This only works if identity management is paired with a workspace solution with OS-native capabilities. Otherwise, even if the single sign on populates the device with the same apps each time the experience is often clunky and far from seamless. For instance, without OS-native capabilities, an app’s ability to access device hardware and capabilities can lag or fail altogether. Unfortunately, a poor experience leads to users seeking alternatives. While 79% of consumers are willing to retry a mobile app only once or twice if it failed to work the first time, only 16% would give it more than two attempts.

The overarching goal of any identity management solution – especially within the mobile arena – is to ensure the level of security necessary to protect the business. This is especially true when IT doesn’t have the luxury of always knowing what devices its workforce will leverage.

Identity management also represents an opportunity for IT to track app and device metrics, as well as provide an individual user or entire user base with credentials needed when the organization rolls out a new business app. Furthermore, it enables the use of customized app stores for simple, automated provisioning. Likewise, this layer of management means having the ability to revoke credentials just as easily as authorizing them – crucial for when users leave a company or lose their phone.

Understandably, mobile identity management is continuing to evolve with various biometrics entering the scene, especially as the looming Internet of Things environment promises to introduce significantly more connected devices.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.