Identity & Access Management (IAM) solution requirement is a core requirement in the technological landscape of an organization. Every Organization uses an IAM solution irrespective of how small or big the organization is. Basically an IAM solution can be divided in four categories namely,
- Manual IAM solutions
- Homegrown / In-House solutions
- On Premise Commercial IAM solutions
- Cloud Based IAM solutions
Manual Identity & Access Management Solutions
Manual Solutions are low cost upfront but its not feasible as a long term solution. As the number of employees grow in an organization so is the cost and moreover manual processes are inefficient and lengthy. Everytime a user has to call HelpDesk to reset or unlock the password or for different levels of access. Manual Solutions can only be viable for small operations but as the organization grows, the management has to look elsewhere.
Homegrown / In-House IAM Solution
Many organization tend to rely on their home grown IAM solutions. The danger with a home grown solution is that it needs to be well documented so that if the architect or the developers dont stay with the organization. One can step into their shoes and can understand the architecture of the home grown IAM solution and the detail specifics of why it was implemented. The only point which is an advantage in case of a home grown solution is that they can be controlled completely according to the very specific needs of the organization. From cost standpoint homegrown IAM solution is not a viable solution as it burns a lot of resource time over a long period.
On Premise Commercial IAM Solutions
There are many brands those who has come up with their ready made of the shelf IAM solutions with a licensing fees and maintenance fees model. The return on investment in this mode of IAM implementation is far better than the manual and the home grown approach as the maintenance and licensing fees can be compensated by the low labor cost and automation of various workflows in self service mode. The downside of the commercial off the shelf solutions is that the infrastructure cost tends to increase with time. Once a vendor is selected its very difficult to move to another vendor because of the long term expensive contracts with the vendor. It will have a heavy financial implication on the budget of the organization. At the time of implementation, the implementation team has to comply with the vendors contract or the support from the vendor is deemed void.
Cloud Based IAM Solution
Cloud based IAM solution is the best choice out of the four because of the low maintenance and low labor cost. The organization has only to pay for the active users and these implementations have a minimal or no downtime. The only downside to this implementation is the upfront cost. But in long term Cloud based IAM solution has the highest return on investment for an organization.
Now it depends on the need of the organization to choose any approach out of the four. It depends on the budget of the organization and the enterprise requirements. Security should never be compromised in trade off for budget. There should always be a healthy balance in investment and security for an organization. An organization can lose customer's trust and reputation in the market in case of a security breach and this can be used effectively by the competitors to get ahead in the market.
Authored by Vikash Singh
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