Enabling Digital Access Through Open Standards

Mikhail Denisenko

Engineering Manager

25 April 2019

How many times have you forgotten your username or password, only to give up on logging into your software? We’ve all been there.

Now imagine this happening with software that manages critical operations in a hazardous facility.

Imagine that a contractor is unable to put the correct controls in place because he can’t remember his password.

Good software aims to minimize all barriers to use the product, giving the user a seamless experience. This starts with the log-in experience.

Single sign-on is a best practice that reduces the hurdle for anybody – including third-party contractors – to use any (critical) system. In the case of an integrated Control of Work system, this means upholding company standards on safety and compliance, alongside the in-house operators.

Enterprise scalability through open standards

When software access follows an open standard, like OpenID, user onboarding becomes efficient and straightforward.

Active Directory-based authentication that follows legacy protocols becomes a damper on efficiency, as increasingly more applications run in the cloud. When organisations use OpenID-compliant identity providers, such as ADFS 2016, Azure AD or Okta, they can expand their systems’ user bases across organisational and operational boundaries. Partner organisations can readily gain access to key systems by integrating with these robust identity providers.

Our customers are looking for new ways to bring their software together: multi-factor authentication, a single and secure place to directly manage user identities and the desire to pass control to service providers, if in the cloud, and more:

  • Partner access
  • Identity and access management
  • Server-to-server integrations
  • Ground/cloud/hybrid/vendor/3rd-party setups
  • Free choice in authentication mode: single- or multi-factor authentication, biometric authentication and even iButton
  • Compliance with VPN requirements of the LAN network, to use management systems across organisational boundaries

Expanding contractor network

Companies in the hazardous industries are focused on reaping the most value from existing assets in a safe way. This leads to a growing ecosystem of third-party engineering partners, inspection agencies and contractors that need to deliver accurate assessments and maintenance on critical equipment.

Plant safety and efficiency get a boost when contractors as well as in-house personnel utilize their operations software to the full extent.

Single sign-on and identity management based on open standards simplifies user access and improves the adoption of digital safety systems—enlisting contractors and in-house personnel to efficiently capture near misses.

Using open standards in software is a best-practise that all software vendors should use: not only does it increase user adoption of systems by creating an intuitive user experience, it also has the potential to unlock major efficiency and safety enhancements for companies in the hazardous industries. Where do you see opportunities for implementing OpenID in your architecture?

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