Can enterprises safely use open-source in their identity management tech?

identity management tech

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of identity management systems; the use of open source code in such a critical segment of security profile needs thorough analysis

CISOs are slowly considering utilizing open-source codes in the enterprise as a solution for reducing the costs and time for implementation. Some enterprise leaders believe that open-source tech and codes are strategically important for the organization.

Of course, considering using open source in the enterprise profile, identity management is not the most popular choice. It’s mainly because identity-based services are some of the most complicated solutions and services to design and develop.

Factors to be considered when choosing open-source for identity projects

CIOs acknowledge that often using open source for enterprise requirements results in fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). It is not unfounded as FUD is most common in open-source code experienced in the widespread brute force attacks against the Magento platform, an open-source solution.

Using open-source codes has a set of benefits. The most common and significant advantage is that multiple members of the open-source community have already tested and verified the code. It has already cleared the unit testing round, but it’s not similar to functional testing. This throws the wrench in the works as identity-based systems are mostly multi-function systems. Functional testing of such systems will test the software or tech at the highest level and open up potential exploit opportunities.

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CISOs say that open-source code can function as a good stepping stone for a specific functionality inside the bigger identity ecosystem. The enterprise maintains control of the final application. Before adopting an open-source-based identity project, CIOs need to consider several factors. Is the SDLC process updated? An open-source code doesn’t eliminate the need for SDLC processes. The code is not full pass to the out-of-the-box tech. It is necessary to subject it to the same maintenance level, and testing as an internally or externally developed solution.

Security leaders acknowledge that open-source software is often susceptible to code bloat. Once that occurs, security is difficult to be maintained due to the bloatware effect. It occurs when more and more functionality is added to the code libraries, making it more complex to analyze the software. Interestingly, bloated software is the easiest place to hide malware.

Lack of control over the solution will increase the number of liabilities in the final system. In conclusion, it’s crucial to analyze and test carefully.


CIOs say that when identity management solutions are built for clients or end-users, they need to be highly scalable. When selecting an open-source code, scalability should be the top priority.


Often identity projects have multiple moving parts in them. Third-party elements are used to add extra functionality. Open-source codes are highly unlikely to have the ability to interoperate with third parties of the CIOs choosing. This needs to be identified proactively and modified as per the organization requirement.

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Flexibility and future-proofing

Security leaders emphasize the ability of open-source code to be extendable to different database storage, embed different attributes, allow different authentication and authorization options, translate protocols, etc. Similarly, the code must be easy to modify and add functionality in accordance with dynamic requirements. Identity services are a continuous process, and client requirements change dynamically. CIOs should be open to working with multiple open-source codes or have the capability to be able to move to different codes with better functionality.