IDaaS is Identity-as-a-Service, meaning Identity and Access Management (IAM) capabilities deployed as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service deployed into the cloud and managed by a third party). For this reason, IDaaS is also called SaaS-delivered IAM by Gartner.
As a brief background, IAM is a wide-scoping term that extensively deals with management of digital identities (whether individuals, organisations or things) and their roles and privileges within networks, applications, and digital services. IAM is used to ensure users are who they claim to be, and have access only to the applications, services or resources that they have the right to access. As with IAM, the term ‘IDaaS’ covers both internal (employee) system identities and external (B2B, B2C) system identities.
So, let’s look at some key questions around IDaaS – including capabilities, the drivers behind IDaaS adoption, and which organisations choose this SaaS-delivered IAM method.
What can IDaaS offer my organisation?
IDaaS covers a range of identity management capabilities, and typically includes essential, standardised features like self-service user account management, Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) and Single Sign-On (SSO) (see this blog on What is SSO?).
IDaaS is a cloud-based, managed service, meaning that an organisation employing IDaaS would not need to worry about managing deployment, security, configuration and maintenance in-house. Maintaining inhouse IAM is costly – there are hardware, network, development and expensive expertise costs to consider – more on the benefits of the IDaaS approach later on.
IDaaS is an ideal solution to get an app/service to market quickly. However some companies’ identity needs may go beyond IDaaS capabilities. Ubisecure, for example, offers IAM deployment choices from IDaaS, to private cloud (Platform-as-a-Service), to IAM software deployed on-premise in the organisation’s datacentre.
Why would my business need IDaaS?
Safeguard against data breaches
The vital function of IDaaS is to better secure and use identity data and identity credentials, and to secure system access to privileged users only. This includes both internal and external users – like customers, partners and contractors.
Most breaches occur due to the theft and unauthorised use of identity credentials or weak access control workflows. IDaaS helps strengthen the ‘identity as the perimeter’ concept by enforcing policies about credential management and introducing stronger levels of authentication when circumstances demand them.
Data privacy has recently been (and will remain) a much-discussed topic, with data breaches making news headlines every day. Data breach scandals damage an organisation’s reputation, no matter what size, driving away business – not to mention huge regulatory fines (such as those as a result of GDPR non-compliance).
Compliance with regulation
And it’s not just breaches that constitute regulatory non-compliance.
Organisations must ensure that they are transparent about their data practices and give users control over their own data – again, made possible with IDaaS through features such as self-service account management.
The benefits of IDaaS do not only represent cybersecurity team priorities – they also cover usability and customer experience priorities, which could fall under many departments’ jurisdiction – such as marketing.
For example, IDaaS can be leveraged to create the easiest registration processes for customer facing applications on the market – a crucial point in converting visitors to customers – giving users intuitive sign-up and authentication options, such as support for existing digital identities (social, enterprise, federated, national etc.). Identity provider options will vary between IDaaS solutions.
Once a customer is registered, having them hop between connected applications using the same identity is then possible using Single Sign-On, another core IDaaS capability.
Expertise on demand
IAM is a complex subject matter, built on many standards (i.e. OpenID Connect, SAML, OAuth, SW-Federation). Plus, the standards and their implementations are constantly evolving. This represents considerable cost to the organisation trying to keep up.
Embedding IAM capabilities into your application with IDaaS means your developers don’t have to reinvent the wheel doing what the IDaaS provider has already successfully achieved for many customers; they can just plug-in all the necessary pre-existing expertise via APIs. This dramatically reduces time and money spent on in-house development, and the risk of it going wrong.
It is this ‘expertise on demand’ that has driven SaaS growth across many industries in recent years, and identity is no exception. Gartner estimates that IDaaS will augment or replace 60% of software-delivered IAM implementations globally, up from 20% today, and will be the chosen delivery model for more than 80 per cent of new access management purchases globally by 2022 (source: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Access Management, August 2019).
If you’re wondering whether your organisation could build an IAM solution in house, or whether it would be better to buy an IDaaS solution from a provider, check out this free white paper to help you decide – Build vs. Buy: IAM.
Choosing an IDaaS provider
Compared to building in-house IAM, IDaaS can greatly reduce your organisation’s Capex and Opex investments. It will also reduce development time and time it takes to get an application to market. Finally, it will also reduce your risk; getting identity wrong comes with severe brand damage and regulatory penalties.
If you’re ready to evaluate IDaaS solutions, watch this 1-minute video for a taste of Ubisecure’s IDaaS solution, then check out our website for more details and for booking a demo – www.ubisecure.com/idaas.