Book Image

Cloud Identity Patterns and Strategies

By : Giuseppe Di Federico, Fabrizio Barcaroli
5 (1)
Book Image

Cloud Identity Patterns and Strategies

5 (1)
By: Giuseppe Di Federico, Fabrizio Barcaroli

Overview of this book

Identity is paramount for every architecture design, making it crucial for enterprise and solutions architects to understand the benefits and pitfalls of implementing identity patterns. However, information on cloud identity patterns is generally scattered across different sources and rarely approached from an architect’s perspective, and this is what Cloud Identity Patterns and Strategies aims to solve, empowering solutions architects to take an active part in implementing identity solutions. Throughout this book, you’ll cover various theoretical topics along with practical examples that follow the implementation of a standard de facto identity provider (IdP) in an enterprise, such as Azure Active Directory. As you progress through the chapters, you’ll explore the different factors that contribute to an enterprise's current status quo around identities and harness modern authentication approaches to meet specific requirements of an enterprise. You’ll also be able to make sense of how modern application designs are impacted by the company’s choices and move on to recognize how a healthy organization tackles identity and critical tasks that the development teams pivot on. By the end of this book, you’ll be able to breeze through creating portable, robust, and reliable applications that can interact with each other.
Table of Contents (15 chapters)
Part 1: Impact of Digital Transformation
Part 2: OAuth Implementation and Patterns
Part 3: Real-World Scenarios

Why an enterprise identity strategy?

The enterprise market and the consumer market are different, but there is one common factor: simplifying the user experience.

On the one hand, we have the consumer market, where the main KPI is to prevent the users who access the service from leaving too soon. The goal is to maximize the time spent on the service and, consequently, the service adoption.

On the other hand, we have the enterprise market, where companies want to maximize their business and improve employee productivity. In both cases, the adoption of a service and the onboarding of new users are important KPIs.

The user experience (UX) is paramount to achieving these KPIs.

When it’s time to develop a service, regardless of the target market, one core item is mandatory: a user-centric approach. We may have heard this phrase many times, so let’s contextualize it to see what it means.

A user-centric approach aims to produce a UX that is tailored to the user’s needs to make interaction easier and improve productivity. When we talk about a user-centric approach, we also mean a service or a set of services that are built around the user. In the Single sign-on section, we are going to talk about the single sign-on (SSO) experience. Having SSO in place has the important benefit of preventing users from logging in with different sets of credentials to the different services: they just need to prove who they are once and everything else, including the ability to switch to a different service, is done transparently from a user perspective.

The concept of the user-centric approach can go even beyond this. The services know the user, and they can even enrich the user details and information together in a distributed way. This reduces the amount of time the user spends; for example, the user may be asked to provide their email address, phone number, and other information that can be instead provided by the Identity Provider (IdP) out of the box. There are two great advantages of a user-centric approach; one is technical and the other is more business oriented:

  • Technically speaking, the application can offload some of the logic to the IdP, which results in easier development and maintenance of applications
  • In the business area, the users can enjoy a custom experience that can increase user engagement

The following diagram is a graphical representation of services built upon the IdP. These services can be developed by offloading the identity’s business logic to the IdP:

Figure 1.1 – IdP and service relationship

Figure 1.1 – IdP and service relationship

Of course, to implement services that cooperate to facilitate the UX, an enterprise-grade user management system design needs to be done upfront.

To have an idea of a fully user-centric approach, think about consumer services such as the cloud services from Google or Microsoft. Once you are signed in with your @gmail or @outlook email ID, you don’t need to create a new user to manage calendars, maps, emails, or photos; you are the very same entity across all these services, and these services are going to share the details of your interactions to tailor the perfect UX for you across the cloud service. If you ask Google Assistant to remind you about something when you are back home, very likely you don’t need to specify where your home is, so long as this information has been provided to a different service, such as Google Maps. This gives us an idea of the benefits that can be achieved from a user perspective and how productivity can be boosted with this approach.

To summarize, having a user-centric approach means that services are tailored around users to enable them to get the most efficiency and productivity.