If you’re doing any kind of business online, then chances are you’ve got several social media accounts, email accounts, and an assortment of web based services- all with their own username and password.
If you are self-employed or run a very small business, then many of these online profiles may overlap with your personal accounts, and even if they don’t, it means a whole separate set of online profile information to remember. If you are running a bigger business, then you may also have to manage an internal network that gives some employees access to different web-based data sets and administrative areas.
How do you manage all of this highly sensitive information in your business in a way that is secure, yet organized and accessible? The answer is good identity management.
Are You Suffering from Password Overload?
Quick, off the top of your head, how many online and business-related logins do you have to remember information for? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? And, how many different passwords are assigned to these accounts? Though it’s become an unavoidable part of the online experience, remembering all this login information has become pretty oppressive. Several recent studies, such as this one by Trusteer and another by Consumer Reports, point to the fact that many Internet users are trying to compensate with simple passwords that are reused even for highly sensitive logins, such as bank accounts.
With a strong population of identity thieves and “crackers” roaming the Internet, this can turn into a very expensive habit. Less than a year ago, the Internet witnessed some high profile cyber attacks that included the likes of Yahoo and LinkedIn, where sensitive user profile data was compromised.
When you’re doing business online, the stakes are inherently higher. You are not just protecting your personal online profiles and the data within those accounts, you also need to worry about sensitive business information, such as customer or user profile data. If that information is leaked, whether that leak comes from the outside or from within your business, it can not only severely hurt the credibility of your company, it can also expose you to a host of legal problems.
Making Good Identity Management a Priority
So, how can you manage all your, your employees’, and your users’ profile information in a secure, yet easily accessible way? The answer is identity management. With identity management services, you can create one single “identity” on the web where all your passwords and usernames are stored. All of your passwords and user profiles go into a secure database on a remote cloud server, allowing you to log in automatically to all your web-based services with a single click. There are several, reputable identity management services out there, and many of them offer free, light or trial versions that you can try out.
If you are also dealing with sensitive client or user information and/or need to manage selective employee access to numerous web-based applications, then you will want a proprietary identity management solution that specifically targets small businesses.
When you go about choosing the best solution for your company, there are many, many factors to consider, such as your available budget, the kind of learning curve you and your employees can handle, and the specific features you are looking for. I’m not going to discuss these issues in this post. Instead, I’m going to point you to a bunch of resources that can get you started in the right direction:
- Identity (Management) Crisis (Part 4): Selecting a Comprehensive Identity Management solution– This post is part of a series and it’s definitely worth checking out, however, it’s a bit technical. If you’re not technically inclined, then skip to some of the other resources below.
- The Definitive Guide to Identity Management- This is a comprehensive free ebook that covers all the basics of identity management. It was written several years ago, but it’s still worth a read
- Guide to Identity Management– This is a straight forward, easy-to-read article over at PCWorld
- A New Approach to Identity Management– A nice article that discusses the emergence of cloud-based identity management systems
- Defining Enterprise Identity Management- A good, concise over view of identity management for businesses.
The bottom line here is that whatever service you end up choosing, make sure it’s right for you, your employees, and anyone else who’s going to use it. Though it may take some time to get the right solution, once you do find it, you will not only save precious time and energy, but you’ll give your business the data security it needs.