Data breaches due to poor identity management are becoming an increasingly common regulatory, compliance and security risk. At the same time, a consistent user experience in the identity management of employees, customers, and business partners is becoming more important to optimize processes and thus save costs and effort in administration.
It is, therefore, worthwhile for many companies to outsource complex identity-based processes such as user authentication and authorization, single sign-on functionality, and identity management to the cloud as part of a software-as-a-service model.
Since the products of ID cloud providers differ in several factors, only some ID cloud solutions are suitable for all business models and requirements. Every company should therefore keep several conditions and functionalities in mind, especially in terms of performance and scalability, when choosing their ID cloud provider.
Requirement #1: Cloud Skills
ID cloud solutions often only include some of the functions that a company currently needs. Some providers focus on solutions for Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) and primarily provide tasks for optimizing the online user experience of customers.
On the other hand, other providers specialize in company-internal or employee-related use cases, focusing on the security of employees with access to company applications, data, and networks. While there is a lot of overlap between identity and access management for customers and employees, there are also some differences to consider in this context.
To map both current and future application scenarios in the long term, companies must be able to plan the various user experiences within their ID cloud solution. An ID cloud provider should enable the company to make user experiences as easy as possible, from registration and authentication to the potential access options for users (e.g., multi-factor authentication, passwordless solutions, one-time passwords, magic link, etc.).
At the same time, self-service processes such as manually resetting passwords, forgotten usernames, and settings should be possible. Ideally, companies cover the individual requirements of all user groups with a single ID cloud solution.
Requirement #2: Hybrid IT
According to a recent survey, hybrid cloud environments are used just as frequently as public cloud environments (e.gAmazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, etc.), where applications are provided both on-premises and in the cloud.
This trend is not surprising: A study conducted by ForgeRock also shows that 86 percent of the companies surveyed plan to use a hybrid cloud environment in the next five years. Companies should therefore check whether their potential ID cloud provider can secure applications both on-premises, in a public cloud environment of their choice, or as part of a hybrid or multi-cloud structure .
To map these application scenarios in the best possible way, companies should pay particular attention when selecting an ID cloud architecture that is a combination of private and public clouds, infrastructure-as-a-service ( IaaS ) and platform-as-a-service features ( PaaS ).
Requirement #3: User Experience
In a world where users access services through various digital channels, an ID cloud solution that offers a seamless user experience – regardless of user location or device used – can make a crucial difference. An ID cloud platform should therefore ensure a seamless omnichannel experience.
An example of such an experience is the in-store pickup of goods purchased online, where the ordering takes place from the comfort of one’s home, and the payment takes place via a mobile application. Various identity, compliance and security, and e-commerce functions work together to ensure a satisfactory user experience.
Requirement #4: Security And Compliance
Everything in the cloud was considered threatening and suspicious because the security was not felt to be on par with a self-managed on-premises solution. However, it is common knowledge that a cloud provider with the appropriate security standards can achieve the same level of compliance and data security and protection as an on-premises architecture.
To make an informed decision against this backdrop, however, companies need to know what the potential OF cloud provider can offer in terms of security. A significant consideration for organizations to consider when deciding is single-tenant isolation.
In this way, you can ensure that your data is distinct from that of other customers of the provider and that data is accidentally lost or that other customers access your data. It is also essential to choose a provider that is SOC2 and ISO27001 compliant, as these certifications are based on strict security, availability, and confidentiality policies.
It is equally important that companies consider their compliance requirements and find a provider who can isolate their data in specific geographic areas that respect regional and local data residency laws and meet regulatory requirements such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ).
Requirement #5: Predictability, Scalability, Etc
How a cloud solution is built determines how it will ultimately work. Organizations should review the cloud provider’s update processes: For example, does the provider allow for zero-downtime updates so that a patch or an update doesn’t negatively impact existing service level agreements (SLAs)?
Especially with identity-related services, even the shortest downtimes for updates can significantly impact users.Many cloud providers intermix individual customers’ data, making it difficult to perform backups within the required timeframe.
In the event of such an incident and when misconfigurations occur, the cloud provider should be able to restore specific data environments from an encrypted backup within an acceptable SLA. Businesses should also choose a vendor with SLAs that meet the 99.99 percent industry standard and a track record of exceeding that standard.