Few data breaches have grabbed more headlines than the recent outing of would-be-adulterer Website Ashley Madison's customer base. The exposure of millions of users' personal--very personal--data ended with the destruction of countless marriages as well as the departure of the AM CEO under a cloud of shame.
Most companies don't have such inflammatory business models. But the possible exposure of customer data should still send shivers down your spine. The after effects of a customer data breach range from regulatory fines to the destruction of your customers' trust to having to cease operations. None of it is good.
But you can't refuse to allow customers to access their data electronically. There is no turning back the hands of time to a pre-digital age. So, the conundrum you're left with is how to provide customers access to their data in a secure way that gives them the fluid experience they expect?
To safeguard customer data without destroying user experience requires the use of a Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solution. Analyst firms including Gartner and Forrester have recently recognized CIAM as fundamentally different from employee or workforce IAM. Ability to scale and provide a consistent cross-channel experience are high on the CIAM priority list, according to Forrester. Consumer-facing access management needs to be designed from the ground up for ease of use and scalability.
Another key difference: It is no longer enough for the groups that have traditionally "owned" customer relationships - generally sales and marketing - to dictate how customer data will be secured. In today's complex environment, IT and security leaders need to join with their line-of-business counterparts to ensure the security and privacy of customer data.
CIAM Comes to Market
Customer identity and access management is mission-critical. Several new CIAM solutions have appeared on the market as the industry as a whole recognizes that trying to treat customer identity as a simple extension of existing enterprise/workforce identity solutions isn't working.
Customer identity differs from enterprise/workforce identity in several key 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 a 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 internal and third-party applications (federation and SSO).
Scale across multiple customer bases, business units and partner offerings.
Ping's Identity Defined Security platform balances customer experience and security with ease. Some of the largest enterprises in the world depend on Identity Defined Security to provide the fluid, scalable and secure experience their customers need.
Take a look at Gartner's recent report on consumer-facing IAM that warns today there are critical gaps in the way many enterprises address consumer-facing identity and access management (IAM) and this needs to be designed from the ground up for ease of use across channels and scalability.