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Identity as a Service (IDaaS)

What is Identity as a Service?

Identity as a Service, or IDaaS, provides cloud-based authentication of users that is built and operated by a third party instead of being managed on site by in-house IT staff. IDaaS providers supply identity management software with all the advantages of a cloud service including subscription pricing, automatic updates, no capital investment, and more.

IDaaS is designed to verify that users are who they claim to be, and to provide proper access to software applications, files, or other resources at the right times. For many organizations, the IDaaS model is simpler and less expensive to implement through a centralized cloud-based system developed by identity management experts and leverage their experience and proven solutions rather than develop them in-house.

Typical IDaaS capabilities in cloud computing include adaptive multi-factor authentication (MFA) whereby users must submit multiple factors of authentication such as codes sent to cell phones to gain entry to the network—thus increasing security over single-factor authentication such as passwords.  MFA can grant access dynamically, depending on how much risk different users might pose.

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In addition, single sign-on (SSO) allows users to sign on only once at the network perimeter.  The user can then obtain access to other programs, applications, and resources they are authorized to access.  These IDaaS offerings typically provide frictionless connectivity and encompass solid access management and password management features.

The ideal IDaaS offering will include a way to integrate with existing user directories, as well as providing policy-based access controls for applications, and APIs to assist in interoperability with other security software tools.

Analyst firms such Gartner refer to IDaaS as Identity and Access Management (IAM) capabilities that are delivered through a third-party Software as a Service (SaaS).  Gartner, for example, has predicted that 40% of mid-size and enterprise organizations will be using IAM delivered as SaaS by 2022.

Benefits of Identity as a Service

Ease of implementation and rapid time to value of IDaaS offerings are attractive to organizations that prefer a cloud-first approach, and don’t feel that IAM functionality and management is core to their business model. As more applications move to the cloud, and mobile architectures evolve, many see IDaaS as a cost-effective means to maintain secure management.

Another key advantage of IDaaS is time savings and reduced upfront and ongoing costs. Provisioning user identities on-site with tools like Active Directory Domain Services can involve a number of costs including adding servers; purchasing, installing and upgrading IAM software; backing up data regularly; paying hosting fees; monitoring security; and setting up VPNs. The IDaaS option requires only a subscription fee and limited administration time.

Beyond cost and time savings, IDaaS typically improves cybersecurity and access control as well as enabling faster logins and fewer password resets. Regardless of the user’s remote location, the sign in process is relatively seamless and secure.

More about Identities:
The Future of Identities and How We’ll Get There