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The Build vs Buy Conundrum: Identity, Access, and Identity Federation Solutions

· 3 min read
Schalk Neethling
Customer Success, Community, DevRel - @BoxyHQ

Managing user identities and access controls is a critical challenge for modern businesses. With remote work, cloud computing, and stringent data privacy regulations, organizations need robust identity and access management (IAM) solutions to ensure secure access to their applications and data. However, when it comes to implementing IAM, companies often face a choice: build a custom solution in-house or buy a third-party product.

The Challenge

Developing a comprehensive IAM solution from scratch is a complex undertaking. It requires expertise in various protocols like SAML, OIDC, and LDAP, as well as a deep understanding of security best practices, compliance requirements, and user experience considerations. Building such a system demands significant time, resources, and ongoing maintenance efforts, which can be a daunting prospect, especially for startups and smaller organizations.

The Case for Building In-House

Despite the challenges, some companies opt to build their IAM solutions in-house. This approach offers several potential benefits:

  1. Customization: A custom-built solution can be tailored to the specific needs and workflows of the organization, providing greater control and flexibility.
  2. Proprietary Knowledge: Developing an in-house solution allows organizations to retain proprietary knowledge and intellectual property, which can be a competitive advantage.
  3. Integration: A custom solution can be more easily integrated with existing systems and infrastructure, potentially reducing compatibility issues.

However, building an IAM solution from scratch also comes with significant risks and drawbacks, including higher development costs, longer time-to-market, and the need for ongoing maintenance and security updates.

The Case for Buying a Third-Party Solution

Alternatively, organizations can choose to buy a third-party IAM solution like BoxyHQ. This approach offers several advantages:

  1. Expertise and Experience: Third-party solutions are developed by teams with extensive identity and access management expertise, ensuring robust and secure implementations.
  2. Time and Cost Savings: Buying a ready-made solution eliminates the need for extensive development efforts, reducing time-to-market and upfront costs.
  3. Scalability and Flexibility: Solutions like BoxyHQ are designed to be scalable and flexible, allowing organizations to adapt to changing needs and requirements.
  4. Compliance and Security: Third-party solutions often prioritize compliance with industry standards and security best practices, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities and regulatory issues.
Learn more about BoxyHQ's solutions

The Benefits of Choosing BoxyHQ

For companies and development teams of all sizes looking to implement a comprehensive IAM solution, BoxyHQ offers a compelling value proposition:

  1. Open Source Flexibility: BoxyHQ is built on open-source technology, allowing organizations to benefit from the flexibility and customization options of open-source while offloading the complexities of development and maintenance.
  2. Comprehensive Features: BoxyHQ provides a range of features beyond SSO, including Directory Sync and Identity Federation ensuring a comprehensive IAM solution.
  3. Admin Portal: Whether using the SaaS offering or self-hosting, BoxyHQ provides an admin portal for easy setup and maintenance, reducing the operational burden on development teams.
  4. Community and Support: By choosing BoxyHQ, organizations can tap into the expertise and support of an active open-source community, ensuring access to ongoing updates and assistance.


In conclusion, while building an IAM solution in-house can offer certain advantages, the complexities, and risks often make buying a third-party solution like BoxyHQ a more practical and cost-effective choice, especially for startups and smaller organizations. By leveraging BoxyHQ's open-source flexibility, comprehensive features, and expert support, development teams can focus their efforts on core business objectives while ensuring robust identity and access management capabilities.

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