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The Business Value of Identity

researchHQ’s Key Takeaways:

  • Businesses are often hesitant to invest in Identity solutions, failing to understand the high-costs and man-hours associated with running and maintaining legacy in-house Identity and Access Management (IAM).
  • Failure to invest in modern, sophisticated and secure identity solutions exposes organisations to regulatory fines and the costs associated with data breaches.
  • Modern IAM solutions open the door for greater innovation through a centralised single source of truth on user identities and help foster streamlined user experiences.

IAM is either making your business money or draining resources. Here’s how.

Business decision-makers often balk at updating their identity and access management (IAM) system, partly because of a fundamental misunderstanding of what IAM actually is. To be fair, it’s easy to confuse IAM with its most visible element: the login box. But in reality, the login box is to identity management what a light switch is to your home’s electrical system. IAM encompasses a complex set of functions that touch nearly every aspect of your business and have a measurable impact on your bottom line. Leaving an outdated IAM system in place — whether you’re managing the identities of employees, business partners, or end customers — is both costly and dangerous.

The alternative to living with this faulty wiring is to replace an in-house identity solution with a third-party system built by experts in the Identity as a Service (IDaas) field. A modern IAM solution can provide both a quick business win and long-term value by decreasing costs, increasing revenue, and making businesses more adaptable in a shifting technological and legal landscape.

 

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Modernizing Identity Reduces Maintenance Costs

Businesses that are reluctant to invest in IAM are often unaware of how much money they’re already spending on it. Maintaining an outdated, decentralized IAM system is usually a full-time job for at least one developer. In addition, dealing with identity-related issues such as lost passwords takes up the majority of your support desk’s time.

The maintenance costs of in-house Identity are high even if we only define “maintenance” as keeping the existing system running so users can log in and access resources. When businesses improve their custom IAM systems, those costs skyrocket.

Auth0 customers regularly report that if they attempted to build our features themselves, it would take an entire team of developers. For example, Gymshark saved £900,000 per year in engineer salaries when they enlisted Auth0 to centralize authentication across their apps.

The reason it’s so challenging for companies to update IAM in-house is simply that legacy, and in-house identity systems weren’t designed to do everything that modern IAM platforms can do. A startup can get by with a simple approach to IAM if all they’re doing is managing logins for their small team of employees. But that approach doesn’t scale well, especially if the company also wants to manage the login process for its customers. So when that business moves past the startup stage, and it acquires another business, their Identity needs become dramatically more complex. How will they migrate both sets of employee data to a single system when their IAMs don’t naturally integrate? How will they control access to sensitive data during the transition period, when employees are leaving and joining the business? Trying to answer these questions yourself costs time and resources, can derail important M&A deals, and erodes the experience for external users in a context where customer experience has a direct impact on the bottom line.

Identity Is Critical to Legal Compliance and Security

If you don’t invest in a sophisticated, secure identity solution, then you’re essentially budgeting for regulatory fines and the myriad costs associated with data breaches. Given the rise in global data privacy laws and cyberattacks, the chances that you will be impacted are only increasing.

Identity-based attacks are a pervasive threat

Today, hackers the world over use authentication as their preferred gateway to attack. Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Report found that the most common forms of data breaches are identity-based: phishing and attacks using stolen credentials. These broken authentication attacks mean huge expenses for businesses, in the form of application downtime, lost customers, and IT costs. The Ponemon Institute reports that a company that falls victim to a credential stuffing attack stands to lose an annual average of $6 million (about 4.6 million pounds or 5.1 million euros). Thwarting these attacks requires IAM features such as brute force protection, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and rigorous access control.

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