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DIY Identity Management is a Bad Idea – Here’s why


DIY or Do-It-Yourself is a seemingly interesting trend. Making things on your own which you’d otherwise have to buy is indeed a lot of fun. From pottery to laptop skins, you will save some cost and have fun while you’re at it. If crafting is your cup of tea. When it comes to IT solutions, businesses have long since been building their homegrown solutions. These are usually made to save cost, ensure the trust factor of software within the company, enable easy customization (to some extent), and more. Building your Identity Management solutions has also been a recurring trend. Organizations might vouch for feasibility with DIY IAM but, at what cost?

Let’s discuss this at length.

In this blog, we’ll cover certain important areas where businesses who DIY their Identity Management solutions miss out on.

1. The inclination to DIY and why it is flawed
2. Scaling up your solution is a tiresome option
3. Technical dearth in maintaining and upgrading the solution
4. Your business can suffer at the cost of DIY
5. Even if you do scale, the cost of solutions is unpredictable
6. The scope of risk will increase even if the scope of the solution doesn’t
7. Identity Management is a skill and not one that comes with a guidebook
8. Choose your Identity Management solution, wisely

The Inclination to DIY Identity Management and why it is Flawed

Homegrown solutions, as mentioned earlier, are favored by many businesses for the option to build them in-house, and with their bunch of experts.

A common misconception that functionalities like provisioning are easy to achieve through simple scripting is a huge driving factor for DIY IAM. While scripts can do the job when all you need to do is achieve automation of a repetitive task—this is undoubtedly not what IAM entails.

Creating a script for a minimal number of users to simply copy the data from one place to another, without any discrepancy in the data is simple. But, in an organization, this is hardly the scenario. There are people with different roles and each with different sets of entitlements. Then there are exceptions based on administrative rights and so on. There is a lot of context behind most roles, and they aren’t merely a matter of copy and paste for all.

More so, as the number of cases and exceptions increases, the script becomes all the more difficult to read and maintain. Multiple people write such scripts over a period of time, when something goes wrong, it is a task to find out who did what. Once you pinpoint where things went wrong, it takes time to learn the script and then fix it.

Another critical factor, even if your script is stable enough, there is the aspect of the network. Network outages can become a common occurrence, and then your script will not be equipped to handle such errors.

Scaling up your Solution is a Tiresome Option

Every technology available has come a long way from its primitive versions. This is due to the need for innovation and enable digital transformation. Today applications are not just on-prem. Every environment is hybrid. There are cloud applications, legacy as well as on-prem. Add to this the complexity of multiple devices that people use. BYOD is the usual norm today. Will your homegrown solutions be able to handle all of it? Attempting to do so is an arduous task.

Integrating new devices alone is a daunting task that can lead to the loss of valuable time and productivity. A simple in-house project now becomes a huge task itself with a lot of loose ends tied together.

Technical Dearth in Maintaining and Upgrading the Solution

Your in-house developers are without a doubt very knowledgeable. So you have the expertise. But, no one knows all of what is available in the IT industry today. Unless you come from a security solutions background, chances are your developers aren’t aware of the nitty-gritty details of building an IAM solution. You will miss out on essential features.

There is a lot of suggestion out there to use an open-source solution, but they are oftentimes hidden with vulnerabilities. Hackers are quick to take advantage of such insecure solutions—you don’t want to imbibe it. If you’re going to go about it the safe way, testing your solutions is a time-consuming process, and you can never be too sure.

The learning curve with building solutions do exist, but it is vast in the case of cybersecurity solution such as Identity Management. If you want to hire an expert, there you are in for a headhunt. Cybersecurity professionals, especially those who could build solutions, are so rare. According to a Cybersecurity Ventures report, 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs are going to remain unfulfilled by 2021.

The landscape of the threat itself is increasing. The solutions have to evolve accordingly. If your identity management solutions are built in-house, then there are only so many functionalities that you can add.

Your Business can Suffer at the Cost of DIY

The cost of going from simple automation of tasks to building a functional IAM solution can cost you heavily. But, it is not just about the price. The time and resources spent on making a homegrown solution could’ve very well been used to enhance your core business solution.

Besides, even if you build a sustainable solution, considering how it is either for your employees or customers, you now have to enable them to use it. User adoption is critical in the success of any solution, more so with Identity Management solutions. Professional solutions come with dedicated 24/7 support, training material, and enough resources to solve any hiccup. Your in-house team may not have the time or resources to ensure all of it. Again, causing speed bumps in your core application.

“Taking a DIY approach ultimately monopolizes valuable resources you could otherwise devote to application development. And doesn’t IT best serve the business when it focuses on the enterprise’s core technology, not on supporting technology? Devoting itself to core business strategies is where the business can differentiate itself from its competition”Capgemini Consulting.

Even if you do Scale, the Cost of Solutions is Unpredictable

Let’s talk about the actual cost of sustaining such solutions. According to a report by Mckinsey, 17% of IT projects go so bad that they can threaten the very existence of the company.

A simple project at hand can very quickly become a mess and get complicated as you scale up.

Some costs that will pile, but you aren’t realizing are the annual salary of a software engineer to develop your homegrown application and the cost to maintain the solution. Studies have shown that 90% of the software solution’s TCO will be hidden in the maintenance phase itself.

Another vital cost, which can be as a result of using a homegrown solution is that of a data breach. An ineffective security solution can easily be a gateway to a bad actor. The average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million.

You might have started a DIY IAM project to save costs, but at what cost? In the long run, this is neither affordable nor secure.

The Scope of Risk will Increase even if the Scope of the Solution Doesn’t

Let’s elaborate on the fact that a data breach can cost you a hefty amount. A data breach can cost you reputation, customers, and money. Insider threats are a cause for 60% of all cyberattacks, according to an IBM report. Considering how IAM solutions are at the core of managing and regulating internal accesses—it has to be done efficiently.

Fine-grained access control isn’t something that can be achieved easily with DIY solutions. Also, today’s need is more than simple access control. It is critical to add context to every access, include risk engines that can provide risk scores for accesses, and step-up authentication using multi-factor authentication capabilities as and when needed.

Phishing attempts happen by the minute, and privileged accesses are violated time and again—all of these only stress the importance of acquiring an intelligent identity management solution.

If you think you are an SMB, thus, this is out of scope, then you are unfortunately mistaken. 43% of all data breaches target SMBs. This happens for the exact reason that they lack skilled professionals to handle security and efficient technology to keep the threats at bay.

Identity Management is a Skill and not one that comes with a Guidebook

The organizations that deploy IAM solutions have experienced, seasoned experts in the team. At Cross Identity, our team comprises experts who have over 20 years of experience deploying the solution. When we built our product, it came from a place of experience of thousands of implementations and understanding the needs of the customers over the trends of the market. Thus, our product, CI, reflects customer demands.

We understand what it takes to have successful user adoption, as well as what is the need to tackle today’s threat landscape.

This surely did not come with a handbook, but this was the expertise that developed one implementation after another.

Choose your Identity Management Solution, Wisely

A lot of companies are reluctant to invest in an IAM solution because of the several myths that surround it. Let us bust them for you. IAM solutions have indeed had a reputation for being complicated, expensive, required in-house experts to maintain, and took years to implement.

Cross Identity’ solution, Cross Identity, is simple to use and implement—even your non-technical folks would be comfortable to implement it. It comes with a contextual guide at every step, which encourages rapid user adoption and can be implemented within weeks.  Mostly, it is made keeping the SMBs in mind. Thus, even though it is powered with intelligent functionalities of access management as well as identity governance and administration, it is surprisingly affordable.

Building your own IAM solution is not a task you want to set out to achieve when you want to scale, invest in a solution instead. Save yourself money, skills, and resources, and leave your identity management needs to us.

Reach out to us, anytime, and we will be ready to talk about empowering you with an identity management solution.

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