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August 2019, Vol. 20, No. 3

New tech steers identity and access management evolution

As a global infrastructure solutions architect at ThoughtWorks in 2013, Phil Ibarrola estimated he spent as much as 80% of his time supporting and troubleshooting the company's on-premises single sign-on service. "Identity service is crucial to everything the business does," said Ibarrola, now TechOps head of technology at the Chicago-based software consultancy. "If it is down or compromised, people can't get to their applications and services, and it's very difficult for them to do their jobs." For a consulting firm like ThoughtWorks, that adds up to forfeited billable hours. "Every second we were down, we were essentially losing revenue," he said, describing their legacy single sign-on (SSO) application as brittle and complex. "It was a nightmare." As the organization moved toward a cloud-first, SaaS strategy, the ThoughtWorks team found itself writing glue code to get new applications to properly authenticate with the SSO -- pushing the launch of new tools back four to six weeks, or even more. Repeated attempts to improve the...

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