Baby Steps – Password Management

To build on an earlier posting, I would like to touch on the phased approach to implementing an Identity Management solution. I was recently on an engagement where the customer requested that we implement an identity management product and an single sign on product to perform a simple phase one approach. The project had a primary focus on password management on the Identity Management side and Web SSO to a handful of key applications for the customer. Within three weeks we implemented password synchronization from AD to IdM and three secondary resources, Forgotten password management using custom Questions and Answers, and password reset via a web interface. We also implemented Web SSO to a handful of key enterprise applications.

The key point here is that the project was focused and limited to a specific achievable goal. The project was a success in a short period of time and produced a quick win for the vendor, the customer and our team. Password management and Web SSO are fairly straight forward and simple parts of an Identity and Access Management project and they produce highly visible and easy to quantify ROI for the customer. The visibility is across the board.

The end user experience of being able to login once to access much of their entitlements, to clicking on a simple link if they forget their passwords, to having their passwords automatically synchronized across the enterprise when they change it.

System Administrators and Help Desk personnel are able to focus on more important aspects of their jobs and less on resetting passwords.

Management can watch as the number of help desk tickets and the productivity of their System Administrator teams improves.

Password Management is a great first step towards easing the administrative burden on some of the same teams that will be key in implementing future phases if the IAM infrastructure. It is a great strategy that many enterprises miss out on when they attempt a “Big Bang” implementation and end up with a fragmented solution and a stressed out project team. I can’t stress enough how important it is to only bite off only what you can chew and allow the ‘Process’ to work for you.