Jay O’Donnell, CEO of a Canadian identity and access management company that counts some of this country’s biggest telecommunications carriers and banks as customers, sits in his chair and recalls what he wanted to do when he graduated from a community college computer course.
Twenty years later. has found a niche with its two products: Employee Lifecycle Manager (ELM) and the cloud-based version, ELM Utility.
IAM, O’Donnell says, “is essentially an inventory system of who has access to what in your organization.”
If bringing order out of chaos is the job of IT, one of the more chaotic things that need order is identity and access management.
Too many organizations manage the provisioning of staff accounts for network and application access through spreadsheets or and LDAP directory alone. Yet there’s a dizzying list of things that have to be overseen –getting a new staffer initial login credentials, an email account and access to an approved list of applications (process called onboarding), changing list of apps when the staffer moves to a different post, killing the account when he or she leaves.
And in regulated industries, documentation of all this is now needed.
N8 Identity has seen some success, with customers ranging from BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Telus Corp. and several Canadian banks. It’s in the middle of a months-long process of rolling out a solution for supermarket chain Loblaws Inc. with its 135,000 employees in over 1,000 stores.
“The way large enterprises mange this stuff is very siloed,” says O’Donnell —‘I’ve got a team that does SAP, a team that does Active Directory, a team that does Unix et cetera.’ The problem with that is they don’t have a holistic view what an individual person has access to.”
This is a problem particularly in regulated organizations where not only do certain staff not have access to certain data, for compliance it has to be proved.
The type of organization also plays a role in the solution needed. For example, O’Donnell said, at Loblaws’ headquarters it can take weeks between the time a staffer accepts a job offer and walks in the front door. On the other hand because turnover in a supermarket is so high, onboarding has to be fast – N8 can do it in 15 minutes, he says.
IAM solutions come in various shapes and sizes. Some not only encompass access to IT but also physical access like doors and phones.