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Seven Elements of a Strong Cloud Security Strategy

Cloud security is gaining importance at many organizations, as cloud computing becomes mainstream. Most organizations use cloud infrastructure or services, whether software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and each of these deployment models has its own, complex security considerations.

Cloud systems are shared resources and are often exposed to, or exist on, the public Internet, and so are a prime target for attackers. In recent years, many high profile security breaches occurred due to misconfigured cloud systems, which allowed attackers easy access to sensitive data or mission critical systems. This is the reason why securing cloud systems requires a comprehensive program and strategy to embed security throughout the enterprise’s cloud lifecycle.

A cloud security strategy is the foundation of successful cloud adoption. Besides significantly increasing your pace of progress as you embark on the journey, documenting your strategy early will achieve consensus and organizational agreement between business and technical teams on key drivers, concerns and governance principles.

  • 7 Key Elements of a resilient Cloud Security Strategy

Today’s security landscape is complex. Protecting your organization requires accepting the fact that your systems will be breached at some point; therefore, your strategy should contain both pre-breach and post-breach elements. Here are seven key elements of a strong cloud security strategy:

1. Identity and Access Management

All companies should have an Identity and Access Management (IAM) system to control access to information. Your cloud provider will either integrate directly with your IAM or offer their own in-built system. An IAM combines multi-factor authentication and user access policies, helping you control who has access to your applications and data, what they can access, and what they can do to your data.

2. Visibility

Visibility into current cloud architecture should be a priority for your security team. Lack of visibility around cloud infrastructure is one of the top concerns for many organizations. The cloud makes it easy to spin up new workloads at any time, perhaps to address a short-term project or spike in demand, and those assets can be easily forgotten once the project is over. Cloud environments are dynamic, not static. Without visibility to changes in your environment, your organization can be left exposed to potential security vulnerabilities. After all, you can’t protect what you can’t see.

3. Encryption

Your data should be securely encrypted when it’s on the provider’s servers and while it’s in use by the cloud service. Few cloud providers assure protection for data being used within the application or for disposing of your data. So it’s important to have a strategy to secure your data not only when it’s in transit but also when it’s on their servers and accessed by the cloud-based applications.

Encryption is another layer of cloud security to protect your data assets, by encoding them when at rest and in transit. This ensures the data is near impossible to decipher without a decryption key that only you have access to.

4. Micro-Segmentation

Micro-segmentation is increasingly common in implementing cloud security. It is the practice of dividing your cloud deployment into distinct security segments, right down to the individual workload level. By isolating individual workloads, you can apply flexible security policies to minimize any damage an attacker could cause, should they gain access.

5. Automation

Certainly, automation is a key part of building a successful cloud strategy, as is the need to manage IAM policies. We recommend automating everything you can, everywhere you can. This includes leveraging serverless architecture to respond to alerts, making them manageable to avoid alert fatigue and enabling your security operations team to focus on the events that need their attention.

6. Cloud Security Monitoring

Security Monitoring is not only a matter of choosing the right security service provider but it requests that company develop and drive adoption of a standard interface that permits to query the actual security status of specific elements of a provider’s services. In an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, these may include security status of a virtual machine. In a Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS), the patch status of a piece of software may be important. In both of these cases (PaaS and SaaS), applications are provided through the cloud and their update status would need to be monitored. The data will be maintained by the provider in real time, allowing the subscriber to ascertain security levels at any given point in time. The onus is ultimately on the subscriber to ensure its compliance reporting meets all geographical and industry-based regulations.​

7. Secure data transfers

Keep in mind that data is not only at risk when it’s sitting on cloud storage servers, it’s also vulnerable when in transit (i.e. while being uploaded, downloaded or moved on your server). Although most cloud service providers encrypt data transfers as a rule, this is not always a given.

To ensure data is protected while on the move, make certain that transfers go through secure HTTP access and are encrypted using SSL. Your business IT support provider should be able to help you obtain an SSL certificate and configure your cloud service to use it. You may also want to install HTTPS Everywhere on all devices that connect to your cloud.

The role of the cloud and container utilization will significantly grow in 2022 and beyond, as the speed of migrating to hyperscale environments continues to accelerate. Without a sound cloud security strategy, organizations will increase their risk profile as they increase their cloud consumption, opening themselves up to potentially devastating attacks and breaches.

A strong cloud security strategy paired with advanced technology solutions and trusted security partners will help ensure organizations can take advantage of the many unique capabilities and benefits of modern computing environments without incurring additional and unacceptable risk.

Six Benefits of Transitioning to Cloud SaaS Solutions

Nowadays, an increasing number of traditional software companies are switching to cloud-based and SaaS subscription models – and with good reason. As we see more companies take the leap, we’re gaining insight on the advantages of transitioning, which include: potential for faster revenue growth over time, increased agility, and more predictable revenue. But aside from witnessing the advantages of switching to the subscription model, we can learn from these other companies and gain valuable best practices for other software companies looking to take the leap.

If you are looking to explore the possibilities of delivering your products in a SaaS model, embracing the cloud will be a key tenet of your go-forward approach. In this article we will take you through six reasons and benefits why transitioning to the cloud is essential to delivering your products through a SaaS model.

  • What is Cloud-based Software?

Cloud software shifts components of your IT infrastructure and processes out of your physical office and into a network of physical and virtual servers around the world – almost always accessed through the internet. This simple change presents businesses with a number of valuable benefits, including:

– Improved productivity and collaboration through lightning-fast file sync and sharing

– Worldwide accessibility for any user on any device who has access permissions

– Seamless scalability without the need for space-occupying storage devices

– Endless flexibility with storage, backup, and recovery customizations

– Built-in protection from data loss due to diversified storage locations

Capitalizing on these benefits, businesses – particularly SMBs – are taking advantage of the cloud-based software from the countless SaaS companies flooding the market. Cloud backup software, cloud storage, cloud customer relationship management (CRM), cloud content management system (CMS), and countless other services now offer businesses the agility, flexibility, and ease-of-use they need to stay competitive.

Good examples of cloud SaaS solutions that many businesses have come to trust are:

  • Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is used by 53 percent of businesses. With this solution, you gain access to the same high-quality productivity applications you’re familiar with (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), while enjoying the accessibility found only through cloud software. With the Microsoft 365 you have the flexibility to back up and protect this data exactly where and how you want.

  • Google Workspace

Google Workspace allows businesses to create, manage, and store data from a wide array of different applications through an easy-to-use interface that a growing number of businesses are adopting.

  • ServiceNow

The ServiceNow platform delivers a wide range of cloud software solutions including everything from IT operations management and security operations to application development and HR services. Many of their cloud services are completely automated to streamline entire workflows.

  • Benefits of SaaS Solutions

1. Easy to implement

SaaS is already installed and configured in a cloud, so you don’t have to worry about setting up the infrastructure (which can get complicated). Implementation typically only involves registering and either downloading a web browser extension or the application to your computer.

Adopting SaaS means you don’t have to build out your own infrastructure and software. Beyond the implementation stage, SaaS is easy for updates. SaaS providers manage hardware and software updates, leaving you with a more seamless experience.

2. Reduced administration time and costs

SaaS providers typically deal with infrastructure and management allowing their customers to focus on their core business. They control the security with dedicated professionals. The cloud offers endless scalability, which is key in a data-driven world. And reliability is proven to be higher with the availability of much better disaster recovery.

When purchasing a perpetual based licensing model, organisations are required to pay a costly upfront sum, however SaaS models reduce initial upfront expenses by spreading the costs out over a subscription fee which can be paid monthly or annually for example.

By implementing a cloud-based SaaS platform, organisations can cut down on the expenses it would usually incur on updating legacy-based systems and infrastructure, as well as reduce the costs associated with operational costs. With continual monitoring and updating, your applications will run smoothly, removing the need for unexpected support fees as well as storage and resource costs.

3. Managed Service and Support

SaaS offerings are fully managed by a third party provider, ultimately reducing the hassle for an organisation to manage if overseeing in-house. Managed SaaS providers operate everything for you including hosting, support, upgrades and licencing.

This reduces the stress over monitoring hardware systems and worrying about installing the latest versions of software updates. A managed service ensures a smooth transition, all carried out for you, removing the strain to manage on your own environment. A managed service ensures a smooth transition, all carried out for you, removing the strain to manage on your own environment. By having a managed service provider to handle this for you, your business can ensure an efficient service without any time-consuming disruptions.

4. Scalability

SaaS platforms offer scalable usage based on the demands of your business, whether that’s adjusting the capacity for additional users or scaling back to reduce numbers. This gives your organisation the flexibility based on demand, allowing you to enhance the service as and when you need to, all in a simple, cost effective process. Scalability within SaaS subscription models greatly benefits businesses in terms of cost overheads as organisations will always have a clear idea of what predictable costs for both subscription and administration will be. As you scale, there is no requirement to invest in additional capacity for servers for example, you simply adjust your subscription fee.

5. Security

In recent years, data protection and GDPR have become a vocal point with growing awareness around data. Organisations often feel reluctant when moving to a SaaS based model with concerns over who has access to their data and how it may be used. However, one of the most important factors when transitioning to a SaaS environment for any internal IT team is to reduce the burden of safeguarding your infrastructure. Of course, understandably you are relying and entrusting a third-party provider to look after your cloud estate, which many businesses would be concerned about. However, with SLA’s put in place, off site back up, deployment, security threats, transferal of data through to vulnerability testing all taken care of – transitioning should be a secure, efficient process.

Currently, cloud hosting services are built to address the privacy demands of our customers and help safeguard sensitive data. This hopefully ensures peace of mind for organisations and their customers that their data is secure and stored separately per customer.

6. Cross platform accessibility

A huge advantage of using a cloud based or SaaS platform is the access to services on almost any device, anytime, as long as you have access to the internet. This ensures instant availability to services, and information anytime, anywhere which ultimately boosts productivity and efficiency. Workforces who work remotely while out on the road, from home or across various sites will find this extremely beneficial and cost effective. Not only will this help reduce travel requirements and expenses, but it will also increase the ability to update information, respond to customers and increase communication amongst colleagues as and when required.

By transitioning to a SaaS based model, your business can benefit from increased revenue, greater agility and improved customer relationships. Managed SaaS services can help you achieve your business requirements as you grow without worrying about the technical requirements. Of course, the transition from perpetual to SaaS will be determined by an organisations’ requirements, business goals and buying behaviour. With technology enabling more processing power, storage and security updates, as well as SaaS based models offering competitive pricing, more organisations will start to put their trust in transitioning to Software as a Service.

If you’d like more information on how moving to SaaS can benefit your organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on info@patecco.com and we’ll be happy to help.

Identity and Access Management – Concept, Functions and Challenges

Identity and Access Management is an important part of today’s evolving world. It is the process of managing who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Identity and the Access are two very important concept of the IAM which are needed to be managed by the company. Companies are now relying more on the automated tool which can manage all these things. But then it creates the risk. Because tools are not intelligent enough to take the decisions, so we can add the intelligence by using the various data mining algorithm. This can keep the data over time and then build the models. This article covers the key challenges associated with  Identity and Access Management

1. IAM as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits

Currently, companies are more and more concerned in complex value chains also they necessary to both integrate and offer a range of information systems. As a result of this, the lines among service providers and users and among competitors are blurring. Companies therefore need to implement efficient and flexible business processes focused on the electronic exchange of data and information. Such processes require reliable identity and access management solutions. IAM is the process which manages who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Identity and Access Management IAM has recently emerged as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits in terms of cost savings, management control, operational efficiency, and, most importantly, business growth for ecommerce. Enterprises need to manage access to information and applications scattered across internal and external application systems. Moreover, they must provide this access for a growing number of identities, both inside and outside the organization, without compromising security or exposing sensitive information.

IAM comprises of people, processes and products to manage identities and access to resources of an enterprise. An identity access management (IAM) system is a framework for business processes that facilitates the management of electronic identities. Poorly controlled IAM processes may lead to regulatory non-compliance, because if the organization is audited, management will not be able to prove that company data is not at risk for being misused.

Additionally, the enterprise shall have to ensure the correctness of data in order for the IAM Framework to function properly. IAM components can be classified into four major categories: authentication, authorization, user management and central user repository (Enterprise Directory). The ultimate goal of IAM Framework is to provide the right people with the right access at the right time.

2. Key Concept of IAM

Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Modern IAM solutions allow administering users and their access rights flexibly and effectively, enabling multiple ways of cooperation. Also, IAM is a prerequisite for the use of cloud services, as such services may involve outsourcing of data, which in turn means that data handling and access has to be clearly defined and monitored.

  • Identity The element or combination of element that uniquely describes a person or machines is called Identity. It can be what you know such as password or other personal information what you have or any combination of these.
  • Access The information representing the rights that identity was granted. This information the access rights can be granted to allow users to perform transactional functions at various levels. Some examples of transactional functions are copy, transfer, add, change, delete, review, approve and cancel.
  • Entitlements The collection of access rights to perform transactional functions is called entitlements. The term entitlements are used occasionally with access rights. Identity and access management is the, who, what, where, when, and why of information technology. It encompasses many technologies and security practices, including secure single sign-on (SSO), user provisioning/de provisioning, authentication, and authorization.

Over the past several years, the Fortune 2000 and governments worldwide have come to rely on a sound IAM platform as the foundation for their GRC strategies. As more organizations decentralize with branch and home offices, remote employees, and the consumerization of IT, the need for strong security and GRC practices is greater than ever

3. Function of Identity Management

The identity management system stores information on all aspects of the identity management infrastructure. Using this information, it provides authorization, authentication, user registration and enrolment, password management, auditing, user self-service, central administration, and delegated administration.

Stores information The identity management system stores information about the following resources: applications (e.g. business applications, Web applications, desktop applications), databases (e.g. Oracle, DB2, MS SQL Server), devices (e.g. mobile phones, pagers, card keys), facilities (e.g. warehouses, office buildings, conference rooms), groups (e.g. departments, workgroups), operating systems (e.g. Windows, Unix, MVS), people (e.g. employees, contractors, customers), policy (e.g. security policy, access control policy), and roles (e.g. titles, responsibilities, job functions).

• Authentication and authorization

The identity management system authenticates and authorizes both internal and external users. When a user initiates a request for access to a resource, the identity management first authenticates the user by asking for credentials, which may be in the form of a username and password, digital certificate, smart card, or biometric data. After the user successfully authenticates, the identity management system authorizes the appropriate amount of access based on the user’s identity and attributes. The access control component will manage subsequent authentication and authorization requests for the user, which will reduce the number of passwords the user will have to remember and reduce the number of times a user will have to perform a logon function. This is referred to as “single sign-on”.

• External user registration and enrolment The identity management system allows external users to register accounts with the identity management system and also to enrol for access privileges to a particular resource. If the user cannot authenticate with the identity management system the user will be provided the opportunity to register an account. Once an account is created and the user successfully authenticates, the user must enrol for access privileges to requested resources. The enrolment process may be automated based on set policies or the owner of the resource may manually approve the enrolment. Only after the user has successfully registered with the identity management system and enrolled for access will access to that resource be granted.

• Internal user enrolment The identity management system allows internal users to enroll for access privileges. Unlike external users, internal users will not be given the option to register because internal users already have an identity within the identity management system. The enrolment process for internal users is identical to that of external users.

 • Auditing The identity management system facilitates auditing of user and privilege information. The identity management system can be queried to verify the level of user privilege. The identity management system provides data from authoritative sources, providing auditors with accurate information about users and their privileges.

 • Central administration The identity management system allows administrators to centrally manage multiple identities. Administrators can centrally manage both the content within the identity management system and the structural architecture of the identity management system.

4. Challenges in IAM

Today’s enterprise IT departments face the increasingly complex challenge of providing granular access to information resources, using contextual information about users and requests, while successfully restricting unauthorized access to sensitive corporate data.

Distributed applications

With the growth of cloud-based and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, users now have the power to log in to critical business apps like Salesforce, Office365, Concur, and more anytime, from any place, using any device. However, with the increase of distributed applications comes an increase in the complexity of managing user identities for those applications. Without a seamless way to access these applications, users struggle with password management while IT is faced with rising support costs from frustrated users. Solution is a holistic IAM solution can help administrators consolidate, control, and simplify access privileges, whether the critical applications are hosted in traditional data centers, private clouds, public clouds, or a hybrid combination of all these spaces.

  • Productive provisioning

Without a centralized IAM system, IT staff must provision access manually. The longer it takes for a user to gain access to crucial business applications, the less productive that user will be. On the flip side, failing to revoke the access rights of employees who have left the organization or transferred to different departments can have serious security consequences. To close this window of exposure and risk, IT staff must de-provision access to corporate data as quickly as possible. Manual provisioning and de provisioning of access is often supposed to cause human error or oversights. Especially for large organizations, it is not an efficient or sustainable way to manage user identities and access. Solution is a robust IAM solution that can fully automate the provisioning and de-provisioning process, giving IT full power over the access rights of employees, partners, contractors, vendors, and guests. Automated provisioning and de provisioning speed the enforcement of strong security policies while helping to eliminate human error.

  • Bring your own device (BYOD)

The challenge with BYOD is not whether outside devices are brought into the enterprise network, but whether IT can react quickly enough to protect the organization’s business assets—without disrupting employee productivity and while offering freedom of choice. Nearly every company has some sort of BYOD policy that allows users to access secure resources from their own devices. However, accessing internal and SaaS applications on a mobile device can be more cumbersome than doing so from a networked laptop or desktop workstation. In addition, IT staff may struggle to manage who has access privileges to corporate data and which devices they’re using to access it. Solution is enterprises must develop a strategy that makes it quick, easy, and secure to grant—and revoke—access to corporate applications on employee- and corporate-owned mobile devices based on corporate guidelines or regulatory compliance.

  • Regulatory compliance

Compliance and corporate governance concerns continue to be major drivers of IAM spending. Ensuring support for processes such as determining access privileges for specific employees, tracking management approvals for expanded access, and documenting who has accessed what data and when they did it can go a long way to easing the burden of regulatory compliance and ensuring a smooth audit process. Solution is a strong IAM solution can support compliance with regulatory standards such as HIPAA. In particular, a solution that automates audit reporting can simplify the processes for regulatory conformance and can also help generate the comprehensive reports needed to prove that compliance.

Efficiency, Security and Compliance are important keys of Identity and Access Management. Benefits of deploy a vigorous IAM solution are clear, the complexity and cost of implementation can disrupt even the most well-intentioned organization. A robust IAM solution can ease organization pains, streamline provisioning and de-provisioning, and improve user productivity, while lowering costs, dropping demands on IT, and providing the enterprise with comprehensive data to assist in complying with regulatory standards.

For more information about PATECCO Identity and Access Management Solutions inThe Era of Digital Transformation Whitepaper, click on the image below:

What is SaaS and How Does It Benefit Your Company?

SaaS simplifies the procurement of software: Instead of having to install programs locally, your users access the application via the Internet. Find out what other advantages Software-as-a-Service offers your company, how does it differentiate from on-premises software and how it can be successfully introduced.

  • What is SaaS?

With Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), programs are made available over the Internet. For this, the application is executed centrally on a server of the provider. Your users access the program via the Internet browser and there is no need to install software locally. SaaS is typically sold as a subscription model. The price is usually graded according to the functionality of the software, the contract period and the number of users.

SaaS is already widespread today. There are numerous applications for companies, such as SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft 365 and Slack. Services such as Netflix or Spotify are popular with private users. Together with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service forms the so-called cloud computing stack. In this way, all important IT services can be obtained over the Internet.

  • How SaaS differs from other As-a-Service models

SaaS forms the top layer of cloud computing, building on the infrastructure and the platform. All three shifts are available as a rental model (“as a service”). The services differ as follows:

With Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), IT resources such as servers, storage and computing power are provided in virtualized form. The advantage: Your company does not have to operate its own data center, but draws its infrastructure from the cloud.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is aimed at your developers. This central cloud environment offers all the important resources for developing and rolling out business applications.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the product of the two previous layers. A platform invisible to the user is built into the program and the software sits on an infrastructure outside of the own organization. It is used via an online interface.

  • SaaS vs. on-premises software

In the age of cloud computing, the question arises for companies: Should we run our software on our in-house servers or obtain it via the Internet? There are good arguments for both variants.

The following points speak in favour of on-premises:

– You can intervene directly in the software, for example to edit configuration files. SaaS, on the other hand, usually does not allow any changes to the program core.

– You are less dependent on well-functioning Internet connections because the software connects to users via the local area network (LAN).

– You retain full control over the server. This can play a role in data protection considerations.

Conversely, the SaaS model can refer to these basic advantages:

  • Because the provider takes care of hosting, maintenance and security management, SaaS solutions cause less effort than the on-premises variant.
  • SaaS solutions scale more easily. You can quickly add new users because there is no need for local installation on a workstation. All that is needed is an internet-enabled device.
  • You can adapt the performance of the software to the needs of your users. In some cases the inexpensive basic version is sufficient, in other cases it has to be the premium version. In contrast, with on-premises software, you often only have the very extensive standard version available.
  • A SaaS solution makes it easier to work with an external managed services provider (MSP) because it gives them direct access to your applications. With on-premises software, however, the scope of action of an MSP is limited.
  • The decision for on-premises software or SaaS should always be made individually, based on the requirements of your company. However, with a view to the future, it is important to consider that the software market is increasingly oriented towards the cloud. Many business applications are already only available in the cloud version.
  • The 7 most important advantages

SaaS offers your company a number of decisive advantages.

1. Benefit from optimal coordination

If you host software locally on servers and computers, you must always ensure that the hardware meets the requirements of the software. With SaaS you avoid this problem: The provider ensures that the infrastructure and software are optimally coordinated.

2. Scale as needed

Depending on the season, you may need more licenses. With SaaS, you can flexibly book relevant users online. It doesn’t matter whether you want to add 3 or 3000 users. Conversely, you can cancel licenses that you no longer need. So you only pay for what you actually use.

3. Set up new workplaces quickly

With SaaS, you can provide new users with a workplace within a few minutes. Your user only needs an internet-enabled device and the access data for the SaaS software. There is no tedious loading of programs onto local computers.

4. Collaborate at a distance

SaaS allows team members who are in different locations to easily collaborate. A good example is Microsoft 365: You can work on the same PowerPoint presentation with your colleagues in Berlin even though you are based in Munich. Changes can be tracked in real time.

5. Benefit from fast innovation cycles

SaaS software often comes up with fast innovation cycles. Thanks to the provision via the cloud, the providers can analyze user behaviour in real time. In this way, the providers receive information about possible problems, bugs and unmet user needs very quickly. Optimizations can be initiated accordingly quickly.

6. Keep your applications up to date

Installing software updates can take up a lot of time. SaaS eliminates this problem: the provider ensures that fixes and patches are installed immediately. Your SaaS application is always up to date without your having to do anything.

7. Rely on the high availability

SaaS providers with thousands of users have a great interest in ensuring that their software is always up and running. That is why they work with redundant systems in order to rule out failures or at least to remedy them very quickly. This high availability is guaranteed by the service level agreement (SLA) of the provider.

Realize your SaaS solution with PATECCO!

Would you like to take advantage of SaaS and do everything right from the start? Then we should talk. PATECCO experts check the current status of your software landscape, prepare a cost-benefit analysis and support you with the implementation. Contact us now for a non-binding initial consultation and we will be happy to support!

What Is the Difference Between SaaS and Managed Services?

Nowadays organizations of all sizes have various kinds of services available to them in terms of handling any IT-related needs. They are adopting these solutions to beat the costs and hassles of managing their IT systems and using traditional packaged applications. Managed IT services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enable you to handle complex technical areas without the added cost of upkeep and installation, on-call staff, and software engineering.

However, there are essential differences between these two outsourced models. In this article, we will explain the differences between managed services and SaaS that every organization needs to understand and will provide some tips on which model works best for an organization’s specific needs.

Use of SaaS

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a service category that allows your company to subscribe and sign in users to an existing software program that operates remotely from your company. In general, SaaS refers to services delivered through the cloud that your company pays for. You and your employees are able to remotely log in and receive the benefits of the program to do tasks such as bookkeeping, payroll, or even research and present reports.

Actually we use software as a service (SaaS) applications every day. Office 365 from Microsoft, for instance, is SaaS, because the company provides it through the cloud and charges firms a subscription fee for the privilege of using it, depending on the number of users. Dropbox is a SaaS application offering online cloud storage services. Adobe Creative Cloud is a SaaS provider offering illustration, design and photo editing tools. Slack, as well, is a SaaS application for business collaboration and communication. Moreover, SaaS applications are off-the-shelf software solutions intended to be implemented and adopted quickly with little to no customization. Despite their many advantages, though, SaaS applications do have their limitations. SaaS applications are one-size-fits-all, download-and-done solutions, meaning there’s little room for customization for one specific account. Plus, most SaaS subscriptions offer minimal support and training to help organizations adopt the software.

Managed Services Vs. SaaS

Managed services are different. While SaaS provides companies with software that they can use over the cloud, managed services go a step further. They often offer additional support by taking care of both networking and hardware requirements. Managed services can also go further than managing software and help businesses on the hardware side too. Managed IT services are IT tasks provided by a third-party vendor to a customer — this can be businesses of all sizes. The managed service provider has the responsibility to maintain the IT operations of the organization that benefits the service.

On the other hand, the software as a service model is a category of cloud computing alongside infrastructure as a service and platform as a service model. The SaaS model involves software distribution in which a third-party vendor hosts, maintains and upgrades applications that are available to customers via the Internet. If an organization has ever utilized any software from the cloud, then it has used SaaS. The software as a service model might be a good fit for businesses that have full commitment to staff their IT infrastructure but need outsourced applications to have cutting edge services and be on the next level. In short, the businesses that will get the most advantage out of SaaS are those that have existing IT infrastructure.

Furthermore, managed IT service providers collaborate with their customers and provide IT expertise and pre-built IT infrastructure. There are also remote IT service providers that fully maintain and control their customers’ IT operations so that these customers will focus on more critical business projects and processes.

  • Security

Managed IT services offer different benefits to keep an organization’s data secure. These benefits include constant remote monitoring and the creation of relevant reports to inform the organization about the state of its system. Another security benefit is risk assessment and correlation analyses to keep a steady overview of the activities of the network.

With SaaS, on the other hand, the customers don’t have complete control over their data since the data is hosted in the cloud. Although a customer has the advantage of accessing SaaS applications anywhere with the use of the Internet, the customer must perform a security review of the application before subscribing, especially when it is deployed on a public cloud.

  • Scalability

By using remote IT services, an organization doesn’t have to worry about switching up approach as it gets bigger because a managed service provider is already setup to do just that seamlessly. They can address day-to-day IT issues, maintain and monitor the network or system, and help an organization plan for future needs when it comes to technology.

When using SaaS, users don’t have to buy another server or software as compared to traditional models. SaaS applications are scalable by enabling an organization to choose the delivery model and changing it when the requirements of the business change. With SaaS, it is easier to turn on an additional set of components, integrate to other systems, and get new application users.

  • Stability And Predictability

One of the most essential things that managed IT services offer is their stability. Unlike the break/fix model where an IT professional is only available when there is an issue, managed IT service providers have a 24/7 availability and prevent all issues from happening. This also includes weekends, holidays, and in the middle of the night, so kind of IT support provides and ensures a superior level of productivity for the availing organization, regardless of the time and date.

In the SaaS model, on the other hand, data portability can be the problem. The situation can become unpredictable and unstable. What happens to an organization’s data stored in the cloud if the SaaS providers go bankrupt? Unfortunately, this is one of the risks an organization needs to take when opting for a SaaS solution.

What kind of service do you need?

Every company needs a variety of IT related services. If your primary needs center around straightforward functions like payroll or simple accounting, SaaS is probably a good fit for you. One of the primary reasons why SaaS is popular among companies is that it provides a low-cost alternative to conventional, in-house solutions. Through this service, your business is free to scale up or down and implement new products without investing too much on expensive processes.

A managed service provider comes at a higher price, but you still get your money’s worth because they provide a more comprehensive solution. Managed IT companies allow you to enjoy the advantages of SaaS while helping you with better integration, upgrades, and maintenance.

As final thoughts we could say that the choice between the two IT solutions depends on your business needs. There are companies that require basic software delivered via the cloud to perform a specific function. In this case, SaaS is the most ideal option. For businesses that need to integrate their systems and monitor networks, getting managed IT services is the best way to go. Whatever option you go for, always think about how important the software required is to your company.

When Cloud and Identity Meet Together

Identity management gives the opportunity to a company to effectively identify, authenticate and authorise single users or groups and their access to specific information – applications, data, networks and systems. User permissions and restrictions on what the employees can access and perform are connected to created by the organisation identities, which can be controlled and configured in an efficient manner. That means that only the right people can access the right resources, at the right times, for the right reasons.

With digital transformation via cloud computing, it is possible to have flexible access to apps and data anywhere at any time, so it’s crucial that identity is on the same level as security – that is why they are so tightly linked. Every organisation should have a top-priority objective – to have the right capabilities to safeguard the new adoption of cloud technology and at the same time to protect information confidentiality in every industry. The strategic partnership between PATECCO and IBM provides the opportunity to leverage solutions that manage both.

  • Why IBM CLOUD IDENTITY?

IBM Cloud Identity helps you ensure user productivity with cloud-based features for single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication and identity governance. The solution includes a variety of pre-defined connectors that allow you to quickly provide access to commonly used SaaS applications. You have the option of defining templates for integrating your own applications. Take advantage of these opportunities when securely connecting mobile workplaces e.g. in the home office.

1. Single sign-on

A major benefit of the cloud is easy access to business tools, whenever and wherever users need them. But when tools and the passwords they require begin to multiply, that benefit can turn into a hassle. Many cloud-based applications that users want, do not have built-in security and authentication features.

You can also forget about username and password problems. Your employees can access thousands of cloud-based applications (such as Microsoft Office 365, Concur, Workday, IBM Box and IBM Verse) in your company with one registration. This gives you easy access to browser, mobile and on-premises applications.

1.1 IBM Cloud Identity SSO capabilities include:

  • Thousands of prebuilt connectors to federate to popular SaaS applications
  • Prebuilt templates to help integrate legacy and on-premises applications
  • Employee-facing launchpads to access any application
  • A seamless user experience to access any application with one username and password
  • A cloud directory for organizations that don’t already have a user directory
  • The ability to sync on-premises directories like Microsoft AD for use with cloud applications
  • Support for multiple federation standards, including SAML, OAuth and OpenID Connect (OIDC)

2. Secure access through Multi-factor authentication

In addition to the user ID and password, multi-factor authentication asks for other factors in order to grant access to applications in the cloud. Depending on the sensitivity of the data, the administrator can flexibly decide to what extent this is necessary.

2.1 IBM Cloud Identity MFA capabilities include:

  • A simple user interface (UI) for defining and modifying access controls
  • One-time passcodes delivered via email, SMS or mobile push notification
  • Biometric authentication, including fingerprint, face, voice and user presence
  • Second-factor authentication for virtual private networks (VPNs)
  • The ability to use context from enterprise mobility management and malware detection solutions for risk-based authentication
  • Software development kits (SDKs) to easily integrate mobile applications with the broader access security platform
  • Risk-based user authorization and authentication policies that use:
  • Identity (groups, roles and fraud indicators)
  • Environment (geographic location, network and IP reputation)
  • Resource/action (what is being requested)
  • User behavior (location velocity

3.Optimized management of the user cycle

Optimize onboarding and offboarding of users. In addition, you can easily create guidelines for access requests via self-service – for both on-premises and cloud applications.

4.Easy access to applications with the App-Launchpad

All applications can be conveniently searched, displayed and called up from a central point. The launchpad combines all applications – both on-premises and cloud services.

IBM Cloud Identity supports users’ requirements for frictionless access to applications, business leaders’ needs to increase productivity, developers’ needs to roll out new services quickly, and IT requirements to more rapidly respond to business change.

EXPERIENCE CLOUD IDENTITY IN ACTION

See how Cloud Identity works for administrators, managers, employees and external parties in this live demo.

Info source: IBM website