Cloud Series: Build, Buy, or As A Service?


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One problem for organizations today is finding a robust and secure modern identity solution. For some, the prospect of managing a few thousand identities seems manageable so they opt to build it themselves. For others, managing tens of thousands of identities is a purchasing decision and one that may have been made years ago. As the needs for digital identity become more complicated and as the scale of the identity market grows to include millions of devices, it is clear that neither a homegrown nor a legacy solution will be able to meet future demands. Your best bet may be a new, future-proof, as-a-service identity solution that grows with your business needs.

Build an Identity Solution 

Building your own identity solution takes time. Having your development team tackle this in-house also means there will be much less time for those same individuals to develop other rich features that you may need for your consumer-facing apps. Doing both the front-end and back-end work could cost time to market that you don't have.

If you decide to create your own solution, will it be secure? Security experts today are hard to find. In its most recent workforce report, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC²) finds there is a shortage of nearly 3 million security professionals worldwide. Further, there’s an even more acute shortage of professionals with both security and identity experience. If you are designing your own identity solution, you will need individuals with both sets of skills.

Even if you do take on the creation of an identity solution with a team of security and identity experts in place, will the final product be enough? The solution that emerges may solve today's immediate identity problems, but what about tomorrow’s? Solving for the long term includes not just anticipating new standards and requirements, but also being able to integrate the solution into new infrastructures. 

Will your homegrown solution scale? You may need to manage 100,000 external identities today. But, after a few years, what if your company grows to the point that you may need to manage 200,000 or even 500,000 external identities? Does that scaling also affect the homegrown solution’s performance? 

Finally, if your solution is homegrown, who will maintain it? Once the original engineers have moved on, who will maintain and update it? Over time, computer languages fall out of favor, standards change, or new ones are adopted. Finding  a niche developer who can maintain your decade-old boutique identity solution may not be worth the effort.

Buy a Solution

Maybe you bought an identity solution. But some legacy identity systems – including those native to the cloud – might not fare any better over time. That identity solution you bought a decade ago – either on premises or in the cloud – is probably starting to show its age. And just because it’s from a household-name vendor doesn’t mean that solution will receive the attention, development, or innovation today that it needs for tomorrow. Businesses change, and if their core business isn’t identity, then maybe you should look elsewhere.

If identity is not the vendor’s core business, then older identity solutions may also be slow to adopt new features such as WebAuthn. Or there may also be hidden costs associated with bolting on new pieces of the identity jigsaw puzzle, requiring additional specialized equipment or expertise.

Legacy systems may also lack an integrated, single view of the customer. Data stored in different silos can increase the risks of a data breach, or, at the very least, lead to a negative brand experience if consumers are required to register for separate but related services from the same organization. 

Finally legacy systems may lock you into their proprietary universe. This can be a problem if the solution doesn’t allow you to anticipate new business needs or to integrate new solutions down the road, narrowing your options year after year.

With cloud-delivered identity solutions, some of these concerns are lifted. The traditional run/operate costs are reduced by removing the maintenance costs associated with on-premises servers. Until recently, the value of identity in the cloud has been tested in the market only with point solutions that mostly connect workforce users to other cloud apps. This is one of identity's most simple use cases. And it represents only a tiny percentage of the estimated $7 billion cloud identity market.

ForgeRock Identity Cloud 

For CISOs and identity architects who want a unified view of their customers, employees, device activities, ForgeRock provides the most comprehensive identity platform as a service on the market. Unlike other identity solutions that are nearly a decade old and cobbled together from existing solutions – and therefore not a true unified identity platform – only ForgeRock can be deployed anywhere and deliver true scale with millions identities for customers, workforce, and things.

Sign up today for a preview of our ForgeRock Identity Cloud. It’s our comprehensive identity as-a-service solution built with the power of the ForgeRock Identity Platform. Now, whether you deploy ForgeRock on premises, in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, or natively with the ForgeRock Identity Cloud, you’ll be able to solve identity’s most complex problems with a single comprehensive and extensible platform so you’ll never outgrow your identity solution.

That’s the ForgeRock difference.

Learn more here. Or contact your sales rep today.