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Cloud Expo: Article

On-Ramp to the Cloud

NetIQ unveils two appliances for better access control to leverage cloud and social media use

NetIQ has announced new appliances that help enable businesses and other organizations to simply and securely access the power of two mega trends -- cloud and social media.

Cloud Access 1.1 provides a single sign-on virtual appliance that provides access to cloud services without complex and risky controls. Users within the company can access the permissioned cloud services without having to keep track of numerous and often changing usernames and passwords.

The IT team retains control of which services users can access, while making any changes in authentication for each individual site transparent to the end user. Administrators can provision services for employees on an as-needed basis, while easily de-provisioning those services when the employee leaves the company, or no longer requires access to certain services because of a role change or some other reason.

Feature-rich connectors automatically provision users to popular cloud-based applications, such as Google Apps, Salesforce, Office365, and some 200 verified connectors to security assertion markup language (SAML)-enabled cloud applications. CloudAccess 1.1 also includes a Connector Toolkit that allows IT personnel and partners to extend these federation capabilities to any SAML-enabled third-party software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.

The issue of access ease and control still vexes web apps, never mind cloud and social platforms. It's clearly an issue that needs to be solved if users and enterprises alike are to adopt at the they pace they want.

“Prior to CloudAccess 1.1, existing approaches to managing user access to external resources was a difficult and manual process – made even more complex in light of the demands of today’s dynamic organizations,” said Kent Purdy, solution marketing manager at NetIQ. “CloudAccess 1.1 is not just delivering cloud single sign-on, but also simplifying IT’s ability to successfully turn SaaS, cloud, mobility, and other disruptive trends into business-enabling opportunities."

Log data

Access logs also let IT administrators see how often cloud services are being used, which will allow them to determine whether various services are still cost-effective for the company. It also provides visibility into which employees accessed which services -- and for how long.

The second appliance solution is SocialAccess 1.0, which helps organizations -- retailers, commerce hubs, state and local governments -- rapidly engage with customers and constituents by allowing them to use their unique social identity and profile information from providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others.

CloudAccess 1.1 is simplifying IT’s ability to successfully turn SaaS, cloud, mobility and other disruptive trends into business-enabling opportunities.

Until now, such access required individuals to create and maintain a unique username and password for each site, which is costly for the organization and inconvenient for the individual. SocialAccess 1.0 enables large-scale “bring your own identity” (BYOI) services that simplify how organizations interact with stakeholders and develop greater levels of customer intimacy, all while increasing brand loyalty and reducing IT costs.

Because it's an appliance, it makes it quick to deploy and easy to use for retailers, commerce hubs, state and local government and others seeking rapid engagement with stakeholders without the need to build, manage and maintain an identity store.

The impact of social media on corporate decision-making came into focus last week, when bourbon-maker Beam, Inc., announced plans to cut the alcohol content of its Marker's Mark brand by watering it down in order to meet growing demand. Within days, social media -- Facebook and Twitter -- were filled with furious protests over the move, leading Beam to reverse it's decision. The impact of social media is by no means a flash in the pan.

Demanding access

“Consumers are demanding convenient access to more services from more endpoints than ever and organizations need to be able to seize the opportunities that social identity, mobile computing, cloud and other trends naturally create,” said Geoff Webb, director, Solution Strategy at NetIQ. “BYOI is a great example of the opportunity to build on existing processes, improve existing services and respond more rapidly to customers."

One early adopter of the SocialAccess appliance is the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). The department serves a network of 120 agencies, board, and offices, as well as more than 8 million residents, 300,000 employees, and approximately 50 million visitors a year.

Consumers are demanding convenient access to more services from more endpoints than ever and organizations need to be able to seize the opportunities.

The department was looking for a way for people to log into NYC.gov and have a personalized experience. Using SocialAccess and social media sign-on, users were spared the need to create and maintain another online identity.

CloudAccess 1.1 is offered on a subscription basis or perpetual license. For more information, visit www.netiq.com/cloudaccess. SocialAccess 1.0 is licensed on a per user basis. For more information, visit www.netiq.com/socialaccess.

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