The trend that’s continuing to surge for workforce employees is mobile, on-the-go work and work from home despite some pull back from large organizations, like Yahoo! In the last six years telework grew a staggering 73 percent . In addition, one of four U.S. employees works remotely at least some of the time. These statistics don’t include all of the people who travel regularly and work remotely because of this.
Though working remotely has many benefits or organization and their employees, the cloud and mobility can bring about issues for both the organization’s IT department and the end user. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, was recently quoted making the bold statement that “one day offices will be a thing of the past.” Until then, though, some of the issues with working remotely need to be ironed out.
Managing Accounts for Remote Employees
Correctly provisioning accounts for hundreds or thousands of users who are not physically working within the walls of an organization can be a major headache, and also can be an issue for the end user as employees need access to their accounts quickly and correctly provisioned so that they can begin their work and have access to the systems and applications that they need. In addition, ensuring that employees who are no longer with the company are correctly de-provisioned also needs to be done properly. A disgruntled employee who has access to the organization’s network can cause a great deal of havoc to its data.
Losing Track of Who Has Access to What
Amidst all of the account provisioning, granting access and revoking access to the many cloud applications, organizational IT leaders can easily lose track of exactly who has access to what. This can become not only a security issue, but also a problem for licensing costs since the organizations does not know exactly how many licenses they need to be buying. In addition, this can be a problem when needing to audit systems since it is difficult for the organization to show and document who has access to secure data.
Dealing with Password Issues
Like employees working onsite, those working remotely tend to have difficultly remembering their credentials for the many different cloud applications they need to access. This is especially true for employees who are on the go, and contacting the IT department can be a major hassle. Needing to contact the helpdesk to have a password reset while working remotely is not only a huge annoyance for the end user, but also for the IT department since it tends to receive copious amounts of these types of calls.
So how can all of this be solved? Several leading organizations have chosen to use identity and access management solutions for resolving most of these issues. An automated account management solution can allow the IT department at any organization to easily complete a form, check the boxes for which systems accounts need to be created in and accounts are automatically provisioned. This task can even be delegated to less technical staff if needed, such as help desk employees.
When employee accounts need to be disabled, help desk employees can easily de-provision users without manually going into each system and application. Additionally, the accounts also can be placed into a different category, where they have limited access to systems, but can still utilize other aspects of the accounts.
To keep track of exactly who has access to what, a centralized dashboard can be used to provide an overview of which users are deployed in each cloud application. This allows the organization to know exactly who has access to what, and how many licenses they need for each cloud application.
To help with password issues, single sign-on solutions work well with cloud applications. This allows users to login in once with a single set of credentials and thereafter gain access to all other applications they are authorized for. If a password does need to be reset, a self-service password reset software is another type of solution that can be helpful to remote employees. This type of solution allows end users to reset their own passwords without having to contact the help desk. Employees and students can answer security questions that they have previously provided answers to, and quickly reset their passwords.
With all or some of these solutions, organizations are able to provide a better experience to their users who are working remotely, and allow them to work more efficiently wherever they are.
(Dean Wiech is managing director of Tools4ever, a global provider of identity governance and access management solutions.)