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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

May 28, 2021 | Jason Oeltjen

Achieving Cloud-First Initiatives with Identity

It is critical to strike the right balance of agility and security for your customers’ needs.

Digital transformation initiatives continue apace as companies of all sizes look to leverage the latest technologies to become nimbler while reducing IT costs. The COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing permanence of work-from-anywhere policies have only accelerated this trend. Adopting a cloud-first mentality is almost universally a key tenet to digital transformation, and companies often look to software as a service (SaaS) as their first step.

However, when it comes to core systems that operate as a platform across many other systems, such as identity, there are some unique challenges and opportunities, because it is a hub of so many critical functions in an organization. Therefore, managed service providers (MSPs) must not only understand how to move identity systems to the cloud but they must also choose a reliable partner who can deliver a cloud-ready identity platform that solves complex multi-cloud and hybrid needs.

Choosing a Cloud-first Identity Platform

When thinking about how to approach a cloud-first mandate with identity, it’s important to look at the core drivers, including:

  • Comply with executive mandates to reduce cost and complexity
  • Reduce or remove the need to manage infrastructure
  • Enable upgrades to occur often, without effort
  • Simplify configuration of common use cases
  • Improve user experience
  • Enable quick time to value
  • Reduce risk through deployment consistency
  • Meet predefined scalability, performance, and availability goals

It’s easy to see from this list why adopting SaaS can be an easy decision. However, for core services such as identity, managed service providers need to apply some additional considerations because of the criticality and the requirement to work across multi-cloud and hybrid environments.

When choosing a cloud-first identity platform for customers, keep these items in mind:

  • Their comfort with identity as a shared service
  • Control required over high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) strategies
  • Whether the SaaS service level agreement (SLA) is good enough for their use cases
  • If they have use cases that are supported by a SaaS service
  • When protecting on-prem resources and identities, is software needed?
  • Confidence in the security of the shared service
  • Effectiveness in a multi-cloud environment
  • Data residency

As a result of one or more of these considerations, companies with complex and often global requirements are adopting DevOps in their IT organizations and should consider leveraging containerized identity software to achieve their cloud-first goals. The containerized approach, along with orchestration, will help achieve cloud-first goals in a manner consistent with DevOps practices. 

Deployment Options

One way identity companies can help MSPs and their customers achieve DevOps and cloud-first goals is through container technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes. These technologies allow software to be easily deployed on any cloud while simplifying software lifecycle management.

Some companies do not have DevOps expertise, but still are looking for advanced identity services to achieve cloud-first initiatives. This is where MSPs should seek customized options that combine the benefits of advanced, highly configurable identity and access management (IAM) capabilities while wrapped in a dedicated cloud environment with data and resource isolation. This option frees up companies from running the infrastructure and the software platform, so there is no need to hire DevOps experts who can be hard to find. 

And of course, identity as a service (IDaaS) can help companies seeking as-a-service, cloud-based subscription models for IAM. IDaaS can contain a range of services, but typically includes single sign-on (SSO), multifactor authentication (MFA), and directory services that provide customers with simple and cost-effective IAM capabilities.

There is a lot for MSPs to consider while looking to achieve a cloud-first mandate for customers’ identity platforms. It is critical to strike the right balance of agility and security for customers’ needs. One thing is for certain: Cloud-first environments and identity management will go hand-in-hand, no matter which approach you choose.

JASON OELTJEN is director of product management at Ping Identity.

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