Do you have the arduous task of comparing cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) solutions for your enterprise? Are you underwhelmed by the stacks of white papers and IAM buyer’s guides? You may need a clearer idea of your organization’s ideal solution and some advice on how to narrow down your security choices.

Below are the three best ways to evaluate your cloud IAM options.

1. Complete Your Cloud IAM Picture

If you’re being held accountable for making a smart decision for your team, start by determining which vendors offer only a few basic IAM features and which solutions can serve as the centerpiece of your identity and access management strategy.

Sure, you may only need federated single sign-on right now, but what will you do when your boss wants that new IAM product to integrate with your organization’s complex, on-premises HR system? Can your cloud-based IAM vendor seamlessly handle that? Does it have robust identity governance and administration (IGA) capabilities to manage identities across a variety of heterogeneous enterprise systems? What about auditing and reporting?

Be careful of going with a niche provider today that will not be able to meet your enterprise needs tomorrow.

Key takeaway: Look for a cloud IAM solution with a robust set of on-demand IAM capabilities. You’ll look smart by being able to isolate costs now while having the freedom to scale up when needed.

Answering these 5 questions will help you decide which cloud IAM vendor is right for you

2. Friends Don’t Let Friends Farm Out Their Management Strategy

So you’ve found a slick cloud IAM product that has a low cost of entry. Now you’re done, right? Not so fast.

Have you checked into its management strategy? Most cloud-based IAM products do not represent an end-to-end solution. They rely on third parties for technology, infrastructure and professional services. But why should you care?

First, you should be wary of IAM technology that has been recently built from the ground up. How long has it been tested in the market? Is it robust enough to handle your out-of-the-box challenges? Next, consider what it could mean for your availability service-level agreement (SLA) if the vendor doesn’t control its own data centers, especially if access to critical business applications is being handled by the solution.

Urgent issues never seem to develop during normal business hours, but most cloud IAM vendors do not offer 24/7/365 support or professional services to give you a helping hand, nor do their services span the entire globe. You should search for a provider that is located where your business is and has a strategy in place for a quick response should something go wrong.

Key takeaway: Look for a cloud-based IAM provider that controls all aspects of its solution, spanning the cloud IAM software, infrastructure and professional services.

3. Consider All Costs

A low cost of entry will turn every head. But be careful to consider all costs — including your time and future expenses. If you buy a cloud-based IAM product to solve a here-and-now need today, how much more will you have to source and purchase in the near future when an ugly issue or business opportunity comes up? How much more will you have to spend to complete your IAM strategy?

It’s not hard to see how buying individual cloud IAM products and piecing them together as you go will not only force you into the role of system integrator, but also be very expensive. Is there a chance your organization will be rapidly adding the number of identities and assets? Will your cloud IAM solution give you the ability to quickly turn on new capabilities as they become necessary? Will you have to pay another vendor to cover your identities overseas?

Most cloud IAM vendors will become very expensive in the aforementioned scenarios.

Key takeaway: Look for a true enterprise-grade IAM technology that has scalable pricing when compared to those vendors offering only niche products or incomplete solutions.

More from Cloud Security

The Importance of Modern-Day Data Security Platforms

Data is the backbone of businesses and companies everywhere. Data can range from intellectual property to critical business plans to personal health information or even money itself. At the end of the day, businesses are looking to grow revenue, innovate, and operationalize but to do that, they must ensure that they leverage their data first because of how important and valuable it is to their organization. No matter the industry, the need to protect sensitive and personal data should be…

Cybersecurity in the Next-Generation Space Age, Pt. 4: New Space Future Development and Challenges

View Part 1, Introduction to New Space, Part 2, Cybersecurity Threats in New Space, and Part 3, Securing the New Space, in this series. After the previous three parts of this series, we ascertain that the technological evolution of New Space ventures expanded the threats that targeted the space system components. These threats could be countered by various cybersecurity measures. However, the New Space has brought about a significant shift in the industry. This wave of innovation is reshaping the future…

Backdoor Deployment and Ransomware: Top Threats Identified in X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023

Deployment of backdoors was the number one action on objective taken by threat actors last year, according to the 2023 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index — a comprehensive analysis of our research data collected throughout the year. Backdoor access is now among the hottest commodities on the dark web and can sell for thousands of dollars, compared to credit card data — which can go for as low as $10. On the dark web — a veritable eBay for…

How Posture Management Prevents Catastrophic Cloud Breaches

We've all heard about catastrophic cloud breaches. But for every cyberattack reported in the news, many more may never reach the public eye. Perhaps worst of all, a large number of the offending vulnerabilities might have been avoided entirely through proper cloud configuration. Many big cloud security catastrophes often result from what appear to be tiny lapses. For example, the famous 2019 Capital One breach was traced to a misconfigured application firewall. Could a proper configuration have prevented that breach?…