Identity and access management (IAM) is critical to mitigating access control risks and safeguarding sensitive data environments. Although open-source identity and access management tools and those managed professionally provide IAM protections, each has pros and cons pertaining to cybersecurity risk management. Read on to learn more.
Managed vs. Open Source Identity and Access Management
When deciding between professional vs. open-source identity and access management tools, it will be helpful to consider:
- What IAM looks like, both open source and managed
- The pros and cons of open-source IAM solutions
- The pros and cons of managed IAM solutions
Partnering with an identity and access management partner will help you determine whether open source identity and access management solutions are right for you or whether more robust, enterprise-level managed IAM solutions are more effective.
Breakdown of Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Within a cybersecurity framework, IAM solutions control user access to the various components of your IT infrastructure and help identify and prevent unauthorized access attempts. IAM tools work by authenticating user access to IT assets, after which the IAM tools authorize the access attempts and provide access to the secured asset environments. Generally speaking, all IAM tools—open-source or otherwise—operate based on user authentication and authorization.
What is Open Source Identity and Access Management?
Open-source identity and access management solutions are IAM tools developed for wider user accessibility. Developed by communities of software developers, open-source IAM tools are free to use and available for anyone to modify.
Open-source identity and access management tools were initially developed to simplify the authentication processes used to gain access to secured components of IT infrastructure. The development of open-source IAM tools helped to standardize authentication across IAM solutions while providing a lower-cost identity and access management tool available to users.
What is Managed Identity and Access Management?
Unlike open-source identity and access management tools, enterprise IAM tools are managed and overseen by a managed security services provider (MSSP). Service offerings of enterprise IAM tools may also vary across vendors. Some managed IAM offerings are tiered, whereas others are offered as part of a managed security services package.
MSSPs offering IAM solutions will typically conduct an assessment of your existing IAM systems, offer recommendations, and subsequently optimize your IAM implementations.
Pros and Cons of Open Source Identity and Access Management
The pros of open-source identity and access management tools include:
- Accessibility – Open source IAM tools that are easily accessible by the public offer several advantages:
- Adoption by any organization in need of identity and access management
- Robust IAM tools have a wider reach and can solve complex IAM challenges
- Cost-effectiveness – Compared to the often high costs of enterprise IAM solutions, open-source IAM tools are provided at low to no cost, lowering the cost barrier for organizations with minimal cybersecurity resources.
- Room for innovation – The development and optimization of open-source identity and access management tools involves significant collaboration between developers and security experts with diverse skillsets, which fosters rapid innovation.
Open-source identity and access management tools also have cons, including:
- There is a much lower security assurance with open-source IAM tools because cybercriminals can access the code used in software development.
- For specific software issues, it may be more cumbersome to find fast and reliable solutions within open source communities.
When choosing between identity and access management tools, open-source tools can deliver significant value if your organization has limited resources. However, it is always critical to consider the security risks involved in implementing open-source identity and access management tools.
Pros and Cons of Managed Identity and Access Management
Managed IAM tools also have pros and cons, depending on your desired security posture.
The pros of managed identity and access management include:
- Managed IAM solutions can be tailored to the specific security needs of your cybersecurity infrastructure, including:
- Threat and vulnerability assessments
- Gap remediation
- Compliance optimization
- The expertise of managed IAM vendors can be leveraged to optimize incident response protocols.
- Managed IAM vendors can also leverage their experience from working with different organizations to optimize overall identity and access management capabilities.
On the other hand, managed IAM solutions have the following cons:
- Since they are enterprise solutions, managed IAM tools tend to cost more than their open-source counterparts.
- Gaps in regulatory compliance on the vendor side can affect security implementations and overall identity and access management.
Compared to open-source identity and access management tools, enterprise solutions offered by MSSPs tend to provide higher security ROI. When making a decision between adopting open-source IAM tools or those managed by an MSSP, an identity and access management advisor will walk you through the pros and cons of each type of IAM tool.
Strengthen Your IAM Security Posture
Whether you implement open source identity and access management or enterprise solutions managed by an MSSP, IAM remains critical to the success of your security program. By partnering with an identity and access management services provider, you will strengthen your IAM security posture and effectively manage access control risks.
Contact RSI Security today to learn more!