Top tips for optimising IT security in your organisation

It is generally accepted amongst security specialists that implementing the latest identity management (IDM) technology is one of the most effective ways to automate tasks traditionally done manually by IT staff. This enhances security, increases productivity and reduces IT costs. However, are you choosing the most cost-effective solutions for your organisation? Detailed below are some top tips to reducing the TCO of your IDM implementation even further.

Optimise your features check

When comparing software functionality between vendors, it is tempting to choose a security solution that has the largest and most varied amount of functionality for what seems like a justifiable cost.

This is a trap many of us fall into as we want to get what we deem is the ‘most for our money’. However, in many cases most of the features available with software offering a long list of functionalities are surplus to requirements. More often than not this exhaustive range of functions will never be used. You have therefore entered into a false economy by choosing what you perceived to be the ‘best value for money’. This will result in your organisation effectively paying for functions that will never be useful to you.

In order to ensure fast ROI and reduce overall costs, choose a software security solution based on its ability to carry out the core functions needed by your organisation. Focus on what you fundamentally need the solution to do, and search only for these functions when shopping around vendors. Target vendors who offer a ‘phased approach’ to installation and good levels of connectivity with applications. This way different functionalities can be added on at a later date when the core processes are in place.

Software offering less exhaustive features is often not only cheaper, but it is also quicker to implement, saving valuable time. With the core functions taken care of, you can quickly start seeing the benefits in terms of ROI. Most manual tasks will be automated, and therefore time is freed up for skilled staff to be allocated to more network critical issues – speeding up long term projects & ensuring the network has security and is run smoothly.

Morale is boosted as senior IT staff are now challenged by their work, leading to higher levels of productivity.

Using user management software like Tools4ever’s UMRA (User Management Resource Administrator) has benefited Oxford University Press as this now takes over manual user management tasks which previously took up a great deal of time for the IT department. Karl Andrews, IT Service Desk Manager, comments: “ In order to manually modify and update our starters, leavers and transfers between departments, we would have had to employ someone, to do just that job, all year round. This is neither practical nor economical. Now UMRA takes care of these tasks, this employee can be allocated to more crucial and engaging tasks. There has definitely been a noticeable benefit to productivity, morale and staff retention on the IT Service Desk since implementing UMRA.”

Reduce professional service costs

When mapping out timescales for your IDM security implementation, there is a tendency to focus on how much the interim procedures put in place whilst the installation is on-going will cost – any extra internal resources that will be required, costs incurred by keeping staff on whilst the IDM security solution is put in place, costs incurred by skilled staff not being able to work on more complex matters, etc.

However, we often neglect to pay due attention to the professional services costs. The longer the implementation takes (and usually the more complex the process) , the more these costs will mount up. Underestimating the total outlay for professional services can lead to the whole implementation becoming a great deal more costly than originally budgeted.

Dealing with vendors with a more customer-focused ethos is a good way to solve this issue. Companies of this nature are more likely to offer discounts and bundles with their software & professional services costs. Seeking out vendors who use approaches such as the RAD (Rapid Application Development) methodology is also another way to reduce this outlay. Vendors using this type of approach often strike a better balance between the planning and installing phases of your implementation, meaning they do not spend months and months planning, but try to limit this stage in order to get your installation underway faster, usually by using a test environment.

Tools4ever’s Alwyne Sinclair commented “We recently implemented our SSO (E-SSOM) and Password Reset (SSRPM) solutions for a large UK city council. The implementation was for 7,000 users, connecting with 10 applications. We completed it in less than 2 weeks” He explained further “Thanks to our approach, we are able to carry out a complete IDM implementation, within a matter of weeks as opposed to the industry norm of months, or years. This saves our customers a great deal in terms of TCO.”

Conclusion on IT security

Completely comprehensive implementations that tick every possible box , are not only often unnecessary from the outset in terms of functionality, but they also take a long time to implement – meaning contingency plans have to be put in place whilst waiting for the complete solution and professional services costs begin to mount up.

A solution that allows for a phased approach – i.e for core features/functions critical to your business to be implemented within a short space of time, and less critical applications and features to be added on at later phases – will help reduce your overall spend as there can be more flexibility with budgets and timings.

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