Here we are at the end of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and you’ve heard vendors declare how their solutions can help make you and your enterprise safe. There is a lot to consider and maybe you are thinking you can solve the problem on your own – and go the “build vs. buy” route. Let’s look at the considerations when it comes to adopting the cutting-edge FIDO-based passkeys as the decision carries considerable weight and potential consequences.
When organizations contemplate the implementation of passkeys as an alternative to traditional passwords, they often start by focusing on the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). However, the real challenge lies beyond the MVP—the unknowns that come with version 1.1 and beyond. The technology landscape is constantly evolving, demanding adaptability and scalability. This is when the decision between starting from scratch and leveraging experienced vendors becomes critical.
Here are 6 considerations for your decision-making process:
1. Completeness: Beyond the Minimum Viable Product
Building a passkey solution from scratch may seem like an attractive proposition, especially for the sake of cost-effectiveness and fitting into existing infrastructure. However, it’s crucial to consider the road beyond the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Rapid technological advancements necessitate staying up-to-date and future-ready. Vendors with experience in passwordless authentication solutions not only offer much more than a MVP but also pave the way for future expansions and improvements, helping organizations avoid technological dead-ends.
2. Support for Diverse Environments: Native Apps, Web Apps, Devices, and Regulatory Requirements
The ability of passkeys to seamlessly integrate across diverse environments is a fundamental requirement. Most established vendors excel in providing such integration, saving organizations time and resources. In contrast, building this integration in-house can be time-consuming and expensive, especially when compliance requirements need to be addressed. Dedicated passwordless authentication vendors bring years of experience, ensuring compatibility across a wide range of devices and regulatory environments.
3. Seamless Integration and Backend Infrastructure Support
The tech landscape is no longer homogeneous. Maintaining compatibility across various hardware and software versions can be a significant challenge when building in-house. Dedicated vendors can simplify this process by integrating seamlessly with an organization’s existing backend infrastructure, including cloud Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) and Secret Stores. This integration capability minimizes extensive code changes.
4. Maintenance Challenges: Keeping Pace with Specifications
Staying abreast of evolving FIDO and WebAuthn specifications is crucial for passkey solutions. Organizations often underestimate the effort and resources required for ongoing maintenance when building in-house. Partnering with experienced authentication vendors ensures that passkey features remain up-to-date, reducing maintenance burdens and allowing organizations to stay focused on their core objectives.
5. Reducing Development Risks and Project Failures
Homegrown development carries inherent unknown unknowns, particularly when implementing a paradigm like passkeys for the first time. Organizations may overlook critical factors or encounter unexpected challenges, resulting in higher costs, delays, or compromises on user experience. Partnering with an established passwordless authentication provider mitigates these risks by leveraging their extensive experience and lessons learned from successful passkey deployments.
6. Capitalizing on Investment and Experience
While building a passkey solution independently may seem appealing from a cost perspective, it often fails to account for hidden expenses and missed opportunities. Unknown unknowns can be costly both in terms of time and money. Leveraging a vendor like Nok Nok, with expertise and a wealth of investment in FIDO-based implementations, ensures a smoother fit into existing infrastructure and access to valuable intellectual property.
While building a solution from scratch may appear cost-effective or a better fit for existing infrastructure, it often underestimates the maintenance challenges, development risks, and missed opportunities. By leveraging a traditional passwordless vendor’s comprehensive passkey features, organizations can ensure a complete, scalable, secure, and future-proof implementation, benefiting from the expertise and investment of a trusted industry leader.