Need a Change? A Guide to Successful Identity Provider Switch

With recent IdPs in the headlines for high-profile hacks, we have been receiving an increase in questions from clients around a previously unthinkable topic: What do I need to do to switch IdPs?

Changing Identity Providers (IdPs) is a decision that few technical professionals take lightly. Prior to solutions like MightyID, the process of an IdP switch was incredibly manual and – for most enterprises – a multi-year engagement.

But now that an IdP switch is possible, many tech leaders are considering: am I really happy with my IdP? And with recent IdPs in the headlines for high-profile hacks, we have been receiving an increase in questions from clients around a previously unthinkable topic: What do I need to do to switch IdPs?

Here is our guide of the top 5 considerations when evaluating an IdP switch:

1. Properly Vet the New IdP:

- POC Process: Before committing to a new IdP, conduct a thorough Proof of Concept (POC) process. This ensures that the chosen solution aligns with your organization's needs.

- Identify Representative Users: Include a diverse group of individuals in the POC, not just from the IT and Security departments. Ordinary users can provide valuable insights into the user experience and highlight potential challenges that tech users may not have foreseen.

- User Experience Evaluation: Solicit feedback on the user interface and experience. Focusing solely on security aspects may result in a solution that is technically robust but challenging for average users to navigate.

2. Account for All Applications and Integrations:

- App Inventory: Take stock of all your applications. The number of apps can significantly impact the migration roadmap and timeline. Understanding the scope of the task is crucial for effective planning.

- Identify App Owners: Know who owns each application in advance, and document it. You don’t want the unnecessary stress and delays involved in chasing down various owners as issues arise.  

3. Prioritize User Experience:

- User Satisfaction: The success of an IdP migration hinges on user satisfaction. Consider the transition from the user's perspective and aim for a seamless experience.

- Minimize Inconveniences: Avoid inconveniences such as requiring users to switch between IdPs during the transition period. Wherever possible, provide integrations to the most commonly-used apps so that users can switch to the destination IdP sooner, and leave the old one behind.

- MFA Experience: Clearly communicate changes in Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requirements and provide instructions to users. A transparent MFA experience is vital for user cooperation.

4. A Strong Start Sets the Tone:

- Rigorous Planning: Thorough planning is essential to creating a strong start and setting the pace for the entirety of the project. A stumble early in the transition process – especially if it creates a poor user experience or disrupts operations – can cause irreparable damage to internal trust. Worse, it can be impossible to recover from, and can lengthen the process exponentially by adding new barriers.

5. Prioritize Executive Buy-In:

- Executive Sponsors: Secure support from the right executives up front to serve as your champions. Executive buy-in is crucial for overcoming obstacles and ensuring adequate resources.  

- Frequent Communication: Keep executives informed throughout the process. Regular updates foster a sense of involvement and commitment.

Your IdP is Critical. Ensure Yours is Working for Your Business.

An Identity Provider has the power to impact an entire business and provides critical functionality to most enterprises today. That is why it is so important to ensure you are working with the IdP that is best for your organization. If you require an evaluation or switch to a new IdP, you need to be confident that you’re moving in the right direction.

By prioritizing user experience, conducting thorough evaluations, and garnering executive support, organizations can navigate this complex process successfully. While the idea of changing IdPs was once deemed impossible, with the right partners and tools like MightyID's migration tool, organizations can now streamline the transition from years to months, ensuring a positive experience for all participants along the way.