Looking for an identity management service solution? We’ve found the best in the industry to help you secure your network and your employee’s identity.

What is an identity management service?  Identity management (IdM), or identity and access management (IAM), is used to control who has access to certain data or resources. Only the people who have been authorized will receive access and everyone else will be blocked.

The Top Identity Management solutions are:

  1. 1Kosmos BlockID
  2. Identity Automation
  3. Okta
  4. Optimal IdM
  5. Ping Identity

What Is Identity Management?

Two terms are often used interchangeably in cybersecurity and compliance industries—Identity Management (IdM) and Identity and Access Management (IAM). In many cases, the differences between these terms are insignificant—both refer to the practice of creating, managing, and protecting digital identities in an authentication system. There are some critical differences, however, that make IdM a little more focused on a specific niche:

  • Identity and Authentication Are Related, but Not Identical: Digital identities are part of any authentication system, even in the most bare-bones username/password variety. But digital identities (including their storage, management, and ownership) are part of a dedicated discipline that doesn’t have to feed directly into authentication. 
  • IAM Includes Authorization: Access management is very much related to authentication, but it also, and sometimes more readily, aligns with the practice of authorization (roles, access policies, etc.). 

Identity management, therefore, often falls under the IAM umbrella because it’s difficult to conceptualize authentication and authorization without IdM. IdM, however, is an important practice in its own right. Many different issues arise when it comes to managing digital identities:

  • Security: Traditional forms of IdM have relied on standard databases and encryption, but as we’ve seen over the decades, these databases are often centralized targets of hackers who want to compromise personal information and system protection. 
  • Ownership: Recently, many countries and private organizations have been pushing for robust civically-oriented systems that use digital technologies. The concept of who owns a digital identity is paramount. Today management and ownership of information often fall onto a third-party manager or provider, taking control away from users. 
  • Proofing and Integrity: As digital identities become more complex, the connection between the information that makes up an identity and the actual user represented by that identity becomes more important. Even the evolution of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and biometrics leaves something to be desired. Many compliance standards like IAL2, AAL2, and FIDO2 include specialized methods of proofing a user identity against a real person. 

What Is an Identity Management Service?

With many services moving into the cloud, the concept of products “as a service” has become routine. Software, security, and even authentication have moved into vendor-based models. 

IdM management services are just what the name suggests. A third-party vendor provides the infrastructure and technology to manage user identities. They also support processes like authentication, authorization, and security. 

Having a management service gives you the ability to leverage more robust, secure, and comprehensive services without having to implement them on-site or through your own IT teams. This approach, in turn, provides several advantages over traditional IAM:

  1. Better Security: Security is always a challenge for IdM systems, due in no small part to the attractive target that many of these systems provide for hackers. Like many other essential features, managing something like IdM security yourself can be costly, ineffective, and lead to breaches that damage the well-being of your business and your customers. A managed provider can dedicate extensive resources to the latest security without sacrificing the quality of service. 
  2. Compliance: Closely related to security, observation plays a significant role in your IdM choices. One of the challenges of real compliance management is that different industries have different standards, and each standard requires regular upkeep and audits to demonstrate compliance. An IdM service can mitigate costs and risks by focusing on one or several core frameworks or specifications. 
  3. Fine-Grained Management: It’s one thing to understand how your data should be accessed in your organization, but it is entirely a different thing to have complete technical policies in place that can define roles, permissions, and access controls. A management provider can help you actually implement a system that meets your business needs. 
  4. Consistency and Integrity: Policies, security, and management: a provider takes care of all of these. This means that you can have consistent application of authentication standards and policies across your organization, and, at the same time, the provider ensures that the system is whole, complete, and without error, i.e.,without duplicates, erroneous implementations, or insufficient permissions. 
  5. Advanced Features: A managed service provider can provide advanced features that you might not see anywhere else due to specialization in the field. This includes Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities, advanced biometrics, multi-factor authentication, and advanced cloud features. 

Identity Automation

Identity Automation supports identity solutions, governance, and administration for both on-premise and cloud “as-a-service” versions. This platform also includes SSO and MFA solutions as well as granular controls for group management. However, the platform meets some basic identity-proofing requirements or industry standards outside of SOC 1, 2, or 3 attestations when it comes to compliance. 

Okta

Okta is an established and well-known face in the field of authentication. Okta Identity Cloud offers several frontline security and IAM features, like federation and SSO, and several certifications for compliance. Some users have reported that Okta can be more complicated to implement and use than some competitors. To use full multi-factor authentication, Okta users need to integrate additional technologies (they recently acquired Auth0).

Optimal Id

Optimal IdM is a dedicated IdM solution that specializes in one task: managing IDs. They don’t boast a lot in compliance outside of GDPR. Reviewers have praised their customer service and responsiveness but commented on issues with implementation, specifically a lack of flexibility with their existing systems. 

Ping Identity

Ping Identity is a relatively new provider compared to companies like Okta, but it quickly established itself in the market. While it is intuitive and supports several key features, it doesn’t necessarily cover as much of the compliance standards as its competitors, limiting its use in certain industries. Additionally, some users complain that its feature set isn’t updated as much as it should be and it doesn’t support modern configurations or workflow features. 

Secure Identity Management Services with 1Kosmos and BlockID

One of the issues facing modern IdM is that many providers aren’t focused on current and future security challenges. Furthermore, the notion of ownership rarely comes into play for these centralized providers. The future of IdM, as we see it, will emphasize decentralized ID management for full sovereignty and streamlined security. Our BlockID platform makes digital ID and authentication easy to use, including simple mobile device onboarding. 

We ensure strong security and compliance with important features:

  • Identity Proofing: BlockID includes Identity Assurance Level 2 (NIST 800-63A IAL2), detects fraudulent or duplicate identities, and establishes or reestablishes credential verification.
  • Identity-Based Authentication Orchestration: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through identity credential triangulation and validation.
  • Integration with Secure MFA: BlockID readily integrates with a standard-based API to operating systems, applications, and MFA infrastructure at AAL2. BlockID is also FIDO2 certified, protecting against attacks that attempt to circumvent multi-factor authentication. 
  • Cloud-Native Architecture: Flexible and scalable cloud architecture makes it simple to build applications using our standard API, including private blockchains.
  • Privacy by Design: 1Kosmos protects personally identifiable information (PII) in a private blockchain and encrypts digital identities in secure enclaves only accessible through advanced biometric verification.

Sign up for our email newsletter if you want to learn more about 1Kosmos and our IdMservices. Furthermore, you can discover how our BlockID technology supports strategic and decentralized identity management through our whitepaper on Workforce Identity Verification