Why Building Your Own CIAM Platform Might Cost You More Than You Think

Matt Koltermann
March 12, 2024

Considering building a Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) platform from scratch? While the allure of a DIY approach might be tempting, the reality is that it can be a resource-intensive endeavor with hidden costs that can outweigh the initial investment in a pre-built solution. This case study explores the key considerations businesses must make when deciding between building a CIAM platform in-house versus leveraging a commercially available solution.

The High Cost of DIY CIAM

While building a custom CIAM platform offers complete control and customization, it comes with significant drawbacks that can hinder your business agility and strain your resources:

Significant Development Time, Costs, and Resources

Building a robust CIAM platform requires a dedicated development team with expertise in security, identity management protocols, and user experience design. According to a Global Knowledge report, the average cost of a software developer in the US in 2023 was $200,000 per year. Even with a small team of 2-3 developers, the cost of internal development can quickly reach $500,000 to $700,000 annually. This doesn't factor in additional resources like project managers, security analysts, and QA testers, all of whom are crucial for building a secure and functional CIAM platform. 

Furthermore, Gartner estimates that building a complex CIAM solution from scratch can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months, depending on the specific features and functionalities required. This extended development timeline can significantly delay the realization of business value from your CIAM investment.

Ongoing Maintenance & Security Updates

The customer identity threat landscape is constantly evolving, and CIAM platforms require regular security patching and updates to stay ahead of cyberattacks. A Ponemon Institute report revealed that the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.35 million. Building your own CIAM solution means dedicating internal security personnel to constantly monitor for threats, research and implement security patches, and address vulnerabilities. This can be a significant ongoing strain on resources, diverting IT professionals from focusing on core business initiatives like product development, innovation, and strategic IT projects.

Furthermore, keeping up with the latest security best practices requires continuous learning and expertise. In-house security teams may struggle to keep pace with the rapid evolution of the threat landscape, putting your organization at risk.

Limited Innovation Capacity

The world of customer identity management is constantly evolving. New threats emerge, customer expectations change, and regulatory requirements shift. Building your own CIAM solution puts the onus of keeping pace with these advancements entirely on your internal team. This can be a significant burden, diverting resources from core business functions.  Your team would need to constantly stay ahead of the latest security threats, research and develop new authentication methods, and adapt the platform to comply with evolving regulations.  This ongoing effort can be a major drain on innovation resources, potentially leaving your organization exposed to security risks or falling behind on the latest industry trends in identity management.

The Benefits of a Pre-built CIAM Platform

Building your own CIAM platform internally may offer a sense of control, but pre-built solutions can deliver significant advantages for businesses seeking a more efficient and secure approach. Let's explore the key benefits of leveraging a commercially available CIAM platform.

Faster Time to Value

Pre-built CIAM solutions are readily available for deployment, significantly reducing the time required to implement a robust customer identity management service. This translates to quicker realization of the benefits associated with CIAM, such as improved customer experience, enhanced security, and streamlined access control. By bypassing the lengthy development cycles of an in-house solution, your organization can unlock the value of CIAM sooner rather than later.

Reduced Development Costs

Opting for a pre-built CIAM platform eliminates the need for a dedicated development team and associated overhead expenses. This translates to a more predictable cost structure with a subscription fee, freeing up valuable internal resources for core business initiatives. Instead of incurring significant upfront development costs and ongoing maintenance expenses, you can leverage a cost-effective solution that delivers a clear return on investment.

Enhanced Security Expertise

Leading CIAM vendors maintain a relentless focus on security. Their platforms are continuously updated with the latest security features and patches, ensuring your organization benefits from their ongoing expertise in the ever-evolving threat landscape. This eliminates the burden of maintaining internal security expertise and keeping pace with the latest vulnerabilities. Pre-built CIAM solutions offer a robust and constantly evolving security posture, minimizing the risk of data breaches and protecting sensitive customer information.

Seamless Integrations

Pre-built CIAM platforms often offer pre-configured connectors for popular applications and services within your existing IT ecosystem. This simplifies the integration process, reduces development effort, and minimizes the risk of compatibility issues. By leveraging pre-built connectors, you can achieve seamless integration with your existing infrastructure, ensuring a smooth user experience and streamlined access control across all applications.

Continuous Innovation

The world of identity management is constantly evolving. New authentication methods emerge, user expectations change, and regulatory requirements shift. Leading CIAM vendors  dedicate significant resources to research and development, ensuring their platforms stay at the forefront of innovation. This translates to a future-proof solution that can adapt to changing needs and industry trends, eliminating the burden of  internal innovation efforts for your team. By leveraging a pre-built CIAM platform, you gain access to the latest features and functionalities without  distracting your team from core business initiatives.

Feature-Rich Functionality Out-of-the-Box

Pre-built platforms offer a wide range of features and functionalities out-of-the-box, including single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, user lifecycle management, and consent management. This eliminates the need for you to develop these features from scratch, saving both time and resources. This allows you to focus your development efforts on building unique functionalities that differentiate your brand and enhance the customer experience.

Invest in Efficiency and Security with a Pre-built CIAM Platform

The decision to build versus buy a CIAM platform is a significant one. While the allure of a DIY approach may exist, the reality is that pre-built solutions offer a compelling combination of benefits. From faster time to value and reduced development costs to enhanced security expertise and continuous innovation, pre-built CIAM platforms empower businesses to achieve their customer identity management goals more efficiently and securely.

Don't get bogged down in the complexities and ongoing costs of building your own CIAM solution. Explore the advantages of pre-built platforms and  unlock the potential of a future-proof identity management system for your organization. By leveraging the expertise and innovation of a leading CIAM vendor, you can focus on what matters most: delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving business growth.

Blog Post Category:

Related articles

back to all articlesArrow to the right

Get in touch today

To request a quote, schedule a 30-minute demo or submit an RFP, kindly complete the form, or reach out to us directly.

Thanks for contacting us!

We will get back to you as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, follow us on social media or visit our blog!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.