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Build vs Buy: Guide to Evaluating IAM Solutions

Top considerations for evaluating your current identity management infrastructure. What are the advantages, disadvantages and scenarios for build vs buy?

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Advantages of Build

  • Ability to fully customize authentication and authorization needs with any app that you build.
  • Ability to customize reporting for audits and governance.
  • Ability to direct cost and other resources around features for your unique use case and reduce cost around features you don’t need.
  • Access to the source code, making it easier to troubleshoot.
  • Complete control of how and where data is stored.
  • Ability to deploy anywhere.

Disadvantages of Build

  • If you have limited time and resources, implementing and maintaining identity management can be costly for development and IT.
  • If your team lacks technical proficiency in identity management and security.
  • Costly to have a homegrown solution audited and penetration tested to ensure SOC 2, HIPAA (for healthcare), and privacy sheild compliance.
  • Costly to have to monitor possible fraudulent activity.
  • If your team has to consolidate disparate user data stores, preferably without asking users to reset their passwords.
  • If your team has to add more functionality or learn another protocol each time there is a need.
  • If there is a high risk to underestimating or overestimating the number of transactions per second for high performance.

Scenarios for Build

  • You have the engineering and IT resources to build and maintain identity management.
  • Your identity management needs are not addressed by any solution in the market.
  • The need for an improved identity management solution is not big or complex enough and you’re able to patch it up with an in-house solution.

Advantages of Buy

  • Ability to tackle most of your needs with an out of the box solution.
  • Save development and IT time and regain productivity. Invest more time on core business needs, not authentication.
  • Get to market faster with robust identity management implementations in just a few weeks.
  • Out of the box user management, analytics/reporting, and delegated administration make your team and clients more productive.
  • By offloading IAM to a third party, risk management, state of the art security standards and compliance certifications are covered and continuously maintained.
  • By offloading IAM to a third party, the login experience for the end user and dashboard user experience for administrators are optimized, thus freeing your design team to focus on core business apps.

Disadvantages of Buy

  • Data is stored with a third party service, which might raise concerns around security and troubleshooting if there are any issues.
  • Concerns around high uptime and availability.
  • Concerns around vendor lock-in if you decide to move away from the service or if the company ceases operations.
  • The third party service might not be able to customize their service to your needs or grow with your changing business needs.

Scenarios for Buy

  • Your engineering or IT team is not equipped with time or resources for building and maintaining a secure identity management solution. You don’t have or plan on hiring security or IAM experts.
  • Your developers are custom configuring authentication for each app that they create and have to learn complex protocols like OAuth, SAML, OpenID Connect, and WS-Federation.
  • You would like the freedom to develop on any stack without worrying about how to integrate authentication.
  • You have applications with decentralized user data stores.
  • Your clients or prospects are asking for the abilty to sign in with their company credentials.
  • You handle highly sensitive data about your users (e.g. healthcare or finance) and have to abide by strict regulations for how data is stored and shared.
  • You want to use multifactor or 2 factor authentication to grant privileged access.
  • Your employees, partners or customers are using your application on different devices and want a consolidated view of this data.
  • You have mission critical apps where the lack of high uptime/availability and the costs to a data breach would have serious repercussions for the company.
  • If the opportunity costs of DIY are higher than buying a third party solution. Putting your developers back on projects that generate revenue for the company would be a better use of their time.
  • You need a solution in a matter of weeks instead of months.

Try Auth0 Free

  • A standards-based solution out of the box. Host Auth0’s solution anywhere.
  • We’ve vetted our solution through the most stringent certification and audit processes available today.
  • Consolidate user data store without asking users to reset their passwords.
  • A team of experts constantly monitoring for any vulnerabilities that are uncovered.
  • Rules and extensions allow you to implement any type of custom authorization control you might need.
  • Anomaly detection to protect against fraudulent activity like brute force attacks
  • Multi-Factor authentication with a flip of a switch. No extra code.
  • SDKs for 40 different development stacks.
  • Pre-built integrations into essentially any Enterprise Directory or custom datastore.

Auth0 cuts down implementation to hours, resulting in faster sales cycles, and greater customer adoption. Provide users with Single Sign-On and allow your customers to own user management through Delegated Administration. Auth0 reduces your risk, engineering time and effort while increasing customer adoption, retention and satisfaction.

Integrate Auth0 with any app or website for free. No credit card required. Copy and paste working code into sample apps provided to see how it works.

Or contact us for a demo of how Auth0 works.


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