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.