Originally posted on marknienaber.medium.com
In today’s digital landscape, organizations face a multitude of challenges when it comes to managing identities and ensuring secure access to their systems. ForgeRock Identity Cloud is a powerful solution that enables businesses to streamline their identity and access management (IAM) processes. However, the success of a ForgeRock Identity Cloud project depends on several critical factors. In this blog post, we will explore the key ingredients necessary for a successful ForgeRock Identity Cloud project.
Understanding the roles and responsibility of the ForgeRock Identity Cloud components, external applications and overall solution will allow an organisation to allocate resources during the project and help maintain the solution moving forward. Knowing where to find the right resources to assist will expedite issue resolution and allow for more efficient solution development.
ForgeRock Identity Cloud is a SaaS application deployed to Google Cloud Platform. The software components deployed inside the platform are managed by ForgeRock, while external software components that make up the overall solution but do not fit inside the platform are managed by the organisation.
ForgeRock is responsible for deploying, managing, upgrading and monitoring the various software components as part of the platform. ForgeRock also regularly backs up data and provides High Availability and Disaster Recovery. Organisations no longer have to be concerned with spinning up complex architectures for various environments, as ForgeRock does this all for you. Each customer receives a development, staging and production environment to start and customers can request any number of sandbox environments to support development, see here for more detail.
The following ForgeRock software and services are all wrapped up in a single ForgeRock Identity Cloud Platform:
- ForgeRock Access Management
- ForgeRock Identity Management
- ForgeRock Directory Services
- Cloud DevOps — Promoting configuration
- Admin UI’s / Hosted Pages
The organisation is responsible for deploying, managing, and upgrading the software/solution components deployed outside of ForgeRock Identity Cloud, but still acting as part of the overall solution. Of course, any ForgeRock products deployed onsite will still be covered by ForgeRock product support.
The organisation’s components may include:
- Custom UI’s backed by ForgeRock SDK
- Remote Connector Servers
- Edge Components like ForgeRock Identity Gateway
- The organisation’s own CI/CD Pipeline
- Overall solution monitoring
During the project, a solution will be custom built by the deployment team to meet the organisation’s requirements. This solution is the product that the organisation owns and is delivering to it’s customers. Maintenance, monitoring and enhancements to this product are the responsibility of the organisation. ForgeRock maintains responsibility of the underlying software inside ForgeRock Identity Cloud and offers around the clock support for any issues that may arise with the software.
For organisations to support the product they are delivering to their customers, some may train or even hire internal technical resources, consult a partner organisation/SI, and may engage ForgeRock technical consultants as required.
ForgeRock provides comprehensive product training for all of it’s products, these can be access through ForgeRock University. It is highly recommended that technical resources assigned to the ForgeRock Identity Cloud project have attended relevant courses. The courses can help enble resources prior to the project and on an ongoing basis as new technical resources are onboarded. Working with a trusted partner / SI can also help to reinforce the technical skills required. ForgeRock technical consultants will work along side your team/s and assist in the implementation.
The foundation of any successful project lies in clearly defining its objectives and requirements. Start by identifying the pain points within your organisation’s current identity management infrastructure and determine the specific goals you aim to achieve with the ForgeRock Identity Cloud. These objectives could include enhancing user experience, strengthening security measures, or streamlining administrative tasks.
When moving your solution from an on premise or legacy system to ForgeRock Identity Cloud, we recommend you “Reimagine” your solution using this opportunity to retire technical debt i.e. what are the outcomes that need to be achieved, how will successful achievement of those outcomes be measured and how will those outcomes benefit your organisation and its customers. Building this into a well defined roadmap allows alignment between the project team and stakeholders around a shared vision. It is critical this vision is defined prior to the commencement of the project, coupled with a clearly defined MVP and key outcomes milestones with measurable success criteria.
If you can’t define Success, you can’t succeed.
Once the project objectives are established, it’s essential to develop a comprehensive plan and strategy. Consider factors such as the scope of the project, the resources required, the timeline, and the potential risks involved. Collaborate closely with key stakeholders, including IT teams, security experts, and business leaders, to ensure that the project aligns with broader organisational goals and addresses specific user needs effectively. A project manager for the organisation sitting as part of the project team, and with clear boundaries and scope will ensure the project focusses on it’s MVP while meeting it’s broader long-term goals.
The architecture and design of your ForgeRock Identity Cloud deployment are critical for its success. Work closely with experienced architects and developers to design a scalable, flexible, and secure solution that can accommodate your organisation’s current and future requirements. Consider factors such as user volumes, integration capabilities, compliance regulations, and the need for customisation. A well-thought-out architecture will help optimise performance, minimize downtime, and support future expansion. ForgeRock technical consultants will work with the organisation to ensure the solution architecture developed is sufficient for your needs and meets best-practices, and can then be incorporated into the organisation’s overall design.
A successful implementation of ForgeRock Identity Cloud relies on seamless integration with your existing systems. Ensure that your project team has a deep understanding of your organisation’s technology landscape to establish smooth integration points. A careful approach to data migration is also vital to ensure a seamless transition from legacy systems to the new solution. Data cleansing, mapping and validation processes should be executed meticulously to maintain data integrity and prevent any disruptions to user access or experience. Many organisations legacy systems retain inaccurate or even corrupt data, it’s critical that the migration to a cutting edge platform like ForeRock Identity Cloud is viewed as an opportunity to remove this technical debt. ForgeRock technical consultants can help the organisation understand what is necessary to meet requirements.
Testing and quality assurance are crucial stages of any project implementation. Conduct comprehensive testing to validate the functionality, security, and performance of your ForgeRock Identity Cloud deployment. Test different scenarios, such as user registration, authentication, authorisation, and password management, to ensure a seamless end-user experience. Invest in automated testing tools and techniques to increase efficiency and accuracy while minimising the risk of human error. Work with your ForgeRock customer deployment manager and ForgeRock technical consultants on planning your testing to ensure your solution is ready for your customers.
Successful implementation of ForgeRock Identity Cloud is not just about the technical aspects; it also requires a focus on user adoption and change management. Plan and execute a robust change management strategy that includes clear communication, training programs, and ongoing support to ensure a smooth transition for end users. Address any concerns or resistance to change by highlighting the benefits of the new system and demonstrating its usability. This is particularly important as the move to FogeRock Identity Cloud offers :
- Modern standards-based integration patterns
- Opportunities to provide dynamic yet secure authentication options
- The ability to remove antiquated legacy functionality as you move into the future.
Once your ForgeRock Identity Cloud project is live, it’s crucial to have a process for continuous monitoring and optimization.
Implement proactive monitoring tools to identify and address potential service disruptions and maximize customer satisfaction. For example, monitoring authentication may not provide a complete picture of the entire user experience. It may be important to include self service flows, authentication, authorization, token generation etc. Monitoring the correct critical aspects of your solution will enable the business to proactively react.
Regularly review and optimize the solution based on user feedback, evolving business requirements, and industry best practices. Stay up to date with ForgeRock’s releases and updates to leverage new features and enhancements that can further improve your IAM processes. ForgeRock Support can be contacted around the clock to provide product support and ForgeRock technical consultants or one of ForgeRock’s experienced partners can be engaged to assist with the solution.
A successful ForgeRock Identity Cloud project requires a combination of careful planning, robust architecture, seamless integration, thorough testing, user-centric change management, and ongoing monitoring and optimization. A clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the platform and solution will help with resource allocation and expedite issue resolution.
By investing time and effort into each of these key ingredients, organizations can unlock the full potential of ForgeRock’s powerful IAM solution, delivering enhanced security, improved user experience, and streamlined identity management processes.