As a security professional, you're already more than familiar with the delicate dance between securing your company's information and systems on one hand while not creating so much of a burden employees can't get their work done on the other. Well, when it comes to customer accessing your data, you can expect that balancing act to get even tougher.
Customers today assume they will be able to access their data electronically, period. And they demand to access their data whether online or on the go using a variety of different devices -- from laptop to smartphone to tablet. Customers also expect consistency of experience across channels and devices. You've got to meet all these expectations but, at the same time, you cannot compromise their information by failing to provide adequate security. The stakes for not striking the right balance are high.
To the rescue: A full-featured Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) system. According to a recent Forrester report, IAM is an "essential Ingredient" for digital customer experience. Ability to scale and consistent cross-channel experience are high on the CIAM priority list, according to Forrester.
Meanwhile, a recent Gartner report concurs consumer-facing access management needs to be designed from the ground up for ease of use and scalability. And both research firms agree it's no longer enough for marketing teams to manage customer data in today's complex environment. IT needs to come together with line-of-business leaders to ensure the security and privacy of customer data.
A surge in CIAM solutions
Recently, there has been a tremendous increase in the quantity (and quality) of solutions aimed specifically at solving the challenges posed by customer identity and access management. The industry as a whole is recognizing that trying to treat customer identities as a simple extension of existing enterprise/workforce identity solutions isn't an optimal approach.
So, how is customer identity different from enterprise identity? Let us count the ways:
Customer identity has a direct impact on your customer base, making it mission-critical.
Customer identity needs to account for multiple customer-facing properties, spanning web and mobile.
Customer identity deals with larger scale and volume of transactions than workforce identity, and its performance has direct revenue impact.
At its most basic level, a CIAM solution should offer the complete spectrum of capabilities related to delivering a secure, seamless customer experience, including the ability to:
Register customers (including social sign-on, registration/enrollment, authentication).
Manage identities (create a unified view of the customer, update user profile including email, password, security questions/answers).
Connect customers to applications (federation and SSO).
Scale across multiple customer bases, business units and partner offerings.
Take a look at our Consumer Identity & Access Management Buyer's Guide to find out what IT leaders need to know about CIAM to succeed in delivering an outstanding customer experience. A robust CIAM solution will balance customer experience and security with ease; however, making the best decision for how to secure customer information requires all hands on deck. IT and information security managers must work together with marketing executives and other business leaders to ensure you select the best solution for your company.