Everyone wants high performance. High-performance employees elevate your team. High-performance cars offer the most speed and power. And if you’re competing in a marathon, you’d better be wearing high-performance running shoes. You often hear it referenced in the tech world, too, as it seems like every vendor claims they have a high-performance product.
Unfortunately, the phrase is often applied to technology without much explanation or evidence to explain what makes it so—and the identity security industry is no exception.
Determining exactly what “high performance” means for identity security solutions can be challenging, because the term conveys different meanings to different people. For some, it’s equivalent to a particular guaranteed uptime. For others, it’s more about depth of features and use case support. Still others might think of it in terms of speed or scale.
The vagueness of its meaning and the ease with which the term is applied makes it difficult to know when you’re really getting a high-performance solution versus when you’re just getting something with a shiny label.
So has “high performance” become meaningless?
We at Ping Identity don’t think so. We think about high performance in the identity security industry as a holistic ideal that contains all the elements listed above and more. And when you’re comparing vendors, you should be looking for one that performs highly in all of the ways that matter.
So let’s dig into the aspects of a high-performance vendor to give you a starting point for your own evaluations.
Reliability is the simplest dimension of performance. Without identity services, your business grinds to a halt. Customers can’t log in, your employees can’t get access to critical applications, and you lose money every second you’re down. A high-performance solution is always available when you need it.
Ping Identity has a guaranteed 99.99% uptime, and the best vendors should be able to match that.
Speed & Scale
A high-performance solution needs to be able to manage a massive amount of identities and a huge number of authentications without slowing down, especially for large enterprise customers. Speed and scale are valuable at times of peak usage, when a slowdown will have the biggest impact. Think of retailers handling transactions on Black Friday or tax providers working with the flood of filings on tax day.
Ping manages over 2 billion identities for our customers, and we can handle 4.5M authentications/minute. Make sure your vendor evaluations include speed and scale proof points so you’ll always be able to provide fast service through your digital channels, even as you grow.
Depth of Capability
When we ask some of our customers about their top enterprise requirements, one of the recurring themes we hear is the fullness of features, capabilities and use case support. Connecting all your apps across your IT environment and solving multiple problems with one solution streamlines and strengthens your operations, and we believe this depth of capability is another aspect of a high-performance solution.
For example, our platform encompasses capabilities around authentication, authorization, identity management and more, connecting any user on any device to any app or service. We support workforce, customer and partner use cases, and our solutions work in any cloud, hybrid and on-premises environment.
When looking for a high-performance solution, investigate whether a vendor can support all your current use case needs, and also whether they can support you as you evolve.
A high-performance solution isn’t just about product speeds and feeds. It’s also about the relationship that a vendor will develop with you. You want great customer service, of course, but also a vendor that will partner with you to understand your challenges and goals and help you find the right solution for your needs.
This may be somewhat difficult to evaluate before the deal is signed, but things like a vendor’s NPS score—a customer loyalty and satisfaction measurement taken from asking customers how likely they are to recommend a company's products and services—can give you an idea of what to expect. Companies with higher NPS scores have been proven to deliver better customer experiences and support.
A high-performance solution is also extensible, meaning it has a variety of pre-built integrations and a healthy network of partners to help you build the most comprehensive solution that works with your existing technology. For identity security solutions, this extensibility should be supported by open standards to ensure interoperability among identity systems, web resources, organizations and vendors.
We have over 1,500 pre-built integrations and an extensive partner network of solutions providers, systems integrators, distributors and technology companies, but not every vendor will have such a developed ecosystem.
One of the most important items to consider when evaluating a solution or vendor is to see whether third parties validate their claims. Top analyst rankings, awards, reviews and case studies are all powerful indicators that customers and experts in the industry agree with the vendor’s self-assessment.
Gartner, Forrester and KuppingerCole are some of the top analysts covering the identity security space. So when we say we’ve been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Access Management 4 times in a row, we’re showing proof of our high-performance claims from third-party experts. We’re also proud to say that we serve over 60% of the Fortune 100, and our public case studies and customer proof points substantiate our ability to solve the challenges of the largest enterprises.
Defining High Performance
High performance doesn’t have a specific, agreed-upon definition, and it naturally changes from industry to industry and between different product categories. Ultimately, a high-performance solution delivers desired outcomes better, faster or more efficiently than its alternatives. In the identity security industry, this means enabling extraordinary digital experiences and securely providing employees and customers with access to the resources and apps they need, wherever they are.
The specific elements above may not be an exhaustive list, but it’s a solid starting point for buyers looking to determine whether an identity security solution is truly high performance.