Whitepaper

Modern Identity Fabrics: A Cornerstone of your Digital Strategy

Digital Transformation is ubiquitous. Creating new digital business services changes the way IAM needs to be done. Instead of managing existing applications, IAM has to provide identity services that can be consumed by digital services. Focus is shifting from modern UIs for managing existing applications to APIs that provide the identity services. Modern Identity Fabrics must serve both needs and incorporate an Identity API Platform that delivers the API-based access that is required today.

Martin Kuppinger

mk@kuppingercole.com

Commissioned by ForgeRock

1 Introduction

Digital Transformation affects all businesses, and is fundamentally changing IT. Digital Identities are moving to the center of attention in this transformation. Without the ability to manage and conrol the access of everyone to every service, businesses will fail in their transformational initiatives.

To succeed in Digital Transformation, businesses need a strong digital identity backend that delivers all identity services required by the new digital services that are created. Such backend forms the “Identity Fabric” that provides all services in a standardized manner and, beyond that, integrates back to legacy IAM.

With Identity Fabrics, programmatic access from digital services to the Identity Fabric and its identity services becomes the norm. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) come into play. APIs are defined interfaces that can be used to call a service and get a defined result. APIs are what is used to integrate different solutions – developers call an API, in that case of the Identity Fabric, to consume an identity service.

Identity API Platforms provide identity services via APIs. A platform as a whole should deliver a comprehensive set of services, from Directory Services to Identity Lifecycle Management, Access Management Services, and potentially even Access Governance. Even API Security and Management may be part of these services. They might be provided as an integrated solution (rarely) or a combination of several underlying technical building blocks that deliver various elements of the service.

Identity Fabrics are more than Identity API Platforms, both regarding capabilities and interfaces. However, the shift to API-based access in consequence of Digital Transformation requirements changes IAM and puts the API capabilities at the center.

A well-thought-out Identity Fabric should rely on a small number of components. This number will rarely to never be zero, given that there are no solutions that cover all aspects of IAM, not to speak of solutions that are even close to best-of-breed across the broad range of IAM capabilities.

ForgeRock counts amongst the well-established vendors in the IAM market. In contrast to most others, ForgeRock very early had a strong focus on API-based access. This distinguishes ForgeRock offerings from most other vendors in the IAM market. Many ForgeRock customers already have started building their digital services on the ForgeRock platform, which thus factually delivers the Identity API Platform that forms the core of the Identity Fabric of these customers.

We recommend organizations starting to revisit their current approaches on IAM and shifting to a multi-speed approach that serves the requirements of building new digital services in Digital Transformation immediately, while also allowing for a gradual migration and integration of legacy IAM services and existing applications.


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