Apr 28, 2021
Moving your business to the cloud is inevitable. And it is critical that you can keep your data, your employees’ data, and your clients’ data safe. Global insurance carrier Hiscox reports the average cost to recover from a data breach is $200,000, whereas a study by the Ponemon Institute (sponsored by IBM) estimates the average cost to be $3.92 million. With data and applications now largely in the cloud and an onslaught of mobile-workplace devices accessing your systems, the focus is no longer on the network. Identity and access are now center stage, and the weight of effectively managing these in the cloud is on your shoulders. But it doesn’t have to be. Cloud Identity as a Service (IDaaS) is a cloud-based subscription where you pay a third party to manage your identities and access in the cloud, over the internet. In this article, we’ll explain how identity and access management through IDaaS can benefit your company, and you’ll learn about three factors you need to consider before you choose a platform. Why Cloud Identity as a Service? With 90% of companies in the cloud, Cloud Identity as a Service platforms have made it easier than ever to provide commercial and enterprise customers with rich and highly secure web experiences across many applications. Whether your customers log in with standard credentials (username and password), social identities (such as Google or Facebook), or their corporate credentials, top vendors such as Microsoft, AWS, Okta, and Auth0 all provide the ability to natively authenticate with dozens of providers. Companies prefer to offload identity and access management because IDaaS costs less than you would pay to repair a breach and mitigate damage. While estimates vary greatly (depending on many variables, including the type of hack, degree of connectivity, and how the study defines “recovering” from a beach), the bottom line is that a single company’s internal resources are no match for the expertise and layers of security measures implemented by cloud providers. So where do you start? 95% of security breaches in the cloud will be caused by customers. Gartner prediction 4 benefits to implementing a cloud identity platform Here are the top four ways your company will benefit from a cloud identity platform: 1. Improve total cost of ownership and reduce risk Your company no longer needs to store sensitive passwords in a database, stay up to speed on the latest cryptographic algorithms, or implement the latest single sign-on protocols. This is all managed for you in the cloud identity platform. 2. One login across multiple services As companies move away from the monolithic application to the microservice, it’s becoming more painful to manage authentication across services. Token-based, single sign-on allows users to move seamlessly across applications and services within your organization. 3. Corporate and social providers easily accommodated IT departments are mandating corporate vendors and partners honor their corporate credentials for accessing web-based systems. Cloud identity platforms make this simple by supporting standard protocols like OpenID Connect and SAML to onboard new customers in a matter of hours. 4. Decreased risk through multi-factor and password-less authentication Passwords are insecure. At its Ignite conference in 2020, Microsoft revealed that it now has over 150 million users authenticating without passwords, and the world is a more secure place because of it. This is made possible by leveraging other modes of authentication such as mobile-based one-time passcodes and authenticator apps that allow users to verify their identity by what they have, not what they know. 3 factors to consider before you choose a cloud identity platform At this point, you might want to start researching your different options. Despite being simple for the end user and administrator, there are some very important design considerations to think about as you compare cloud identity platforms. 1. Price Cost savings is a huge factor for most companies switching to IDaaS. On-site identity management often comes with cost of servers, software costs, maintenance and upgrade fees, and the cost to actually manage the security. But IDaaS saves you from all of that − typically you’re simply paying for the subscription fee. The subscription will look different depending on how you’re planning to use the platform, and going into the conversation knowing what you want can allow you to only pay for what you need (e.g., number of identities, frequency of authentication, etc.). 2. Configuration options All vendors, either loosely or strictly, conform to the standard OAuth and OpenID Connect protocols for issuing tokens. Unfortunately, some vendors introduce their own terminology, and the specification itself is lengthy and complex. If misconfigured, it is far too easy to end up with a system that is unmaintainable at best and insecure at worst. Having a trusted partner who has implemented these systems is key to success. 3. Additional security features The top vendors also include advanced security features, such as brute-force detection, anomaly detection, breached passwords, and advanced logging and analytics. All of these features give you and your customers added protection against attackers trying to gain access to your systems. You’ll have improved cybersecurity and be saving time with fewer password resets and faster logins. What’s next? With all of your data moving to the cloud, and employees and clients conducting business on personal devices, how can you make it work for you? Cloud Identity as a Service can be the answer. So, if you’re ready to move to a platform that delivers the security and peace of mind you need for your business, or just want to figure out where to start, talk to us.