Globalization Meets Access and Privilege: Can this be a Match Made in Heaven?

While globalization can be traced back many millennia, it wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th Century that the connectedness of the world’s economies and cultures really began to merge, with large enterprises at the time expanding their businesses overseas. This was all aided by technological advancements such as air travel and the mass production of cars. Fast forward to today, and it would be impossible to deny that globalization isn’t continuing to expand. The Internet has facilitated this a thousand times over and has allowed small companies and individuals to build a presence in other countries without the need for significant investment. Globalization is made possible by modern communications, which allows businesses to provide a whole host of services from across different countries and continents; think a British company with an Indian call center, or devices being designed in the US but built in China and sold in the UK. There are many views to take on whether globalization is inherently good or bad, but what it does do is present some unique challenges that need to be overcome. Global businesses can, and do, share infrastructure across continents. The process of allowing access to these systems for employees from multiple locations, as well as making sure they are secured, presents a significant challenge to companies. Coupled with the fact that there are numerous systems in place across different operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Unix, Linux, iOS and Android, companies need to be able to streamline their processes in order for them to work. You may be asking what globalization has to do with access and privilege, and the answer is simple; in this interconnected world, without access and privilege globalization doesn’t work. Or at least, it doesn’t function very effectively or securely. The very phone in your pocket relies on access and privilege, and it is the product of globalization. Whether it be Android or iOS, Samsung or Nokia, the design and production of that phone consists of many layers across multiple continents. The designs of these devices need to be sent to factories across the globe, but in those factories not every worker needs access to the phone’s designs. They just need to know how to develop, fit or manufacture specific pieces. The new iPhone (number six if you’re struggling to keep track) is due to be released in the last quarter of this year, yet we are already seeing high-profile technology news sites running stories on the rumours of the new design.   If all goes to plan, the design won’t be revealed until the exact time and date specified by Apple, and the only way this can be controlled is through access and identity management. While I wouldn’t want to accuse any employees of anything but total loyalty, would you want to take the risk of sharing all of your Intellectual Property with everyone in the company? Probably not. Just as we have seen in the physical world, globalization drives businesses forward and when you look at the world of new technologies, trends, buzzwords and innovations such as cloud and BYOD, we see that even the virtual world is now globalized. As your business grows and more cloud and mobile services are deployed, questions around who has accessed specific systems, and when, become increasingly difficult to answer. Having centralized access and privilege solutions in place not only makes sense for the expanding business, but in a globalized economy it really is a match made in heaven.