How is Customer IAM Different than Traditional IAM?

July 1, 2016

"I enjoy fumbling through a cumbersome sign-on process when I'm accessing websites and mobile apps."


Who's known for saying this? No one. Ever.


Good business is all about a great customer experience. This isn't a new phenomenon. But with today's hyper-connected consumer shopping online and using mobile apps, self-service web portals, kiosks and connected devices, enterprises have no choice but to deliver a killer customer experience across it all--or risk losing customers to the competition.


As companies adopt new ways of connecting with their customers across multiple channels, the applications that run them are no longer exclusively inside the firewall. And they're often offered by third parties, which presents a whole new set of identity and access management (IAM) and security challenges.


Traditional IAM was built to manage employee access to on-premises applications. Until recently, when a business added a new consumer-facing web or mobile offering, they modified existing IAM tools or pieced tools together in one-off projects. Customers just had to live with the resulting clunky sign-on process, all in the name of security. To address modern customer identity requirements, traditional IAM tools just don't cut it any more.


Customers now have plenty of choices, and they will abandon clumsy apps and turn to a competitor who provides an easier, more seamless experience. A customer identity and access management (CIAM) solution provides that competitive advantage while maintaining a high level of security and privacy.


According to Gartner, a CIAM solution is now a mainstream business requirement--one that requires greater scalability and different functionality than traditional IAM. Plus, it needs unparalleled usability and support for seamless multi-channel interactions. Here are just a few ways CIAM goes beyond the traditional approach:


Scalability - Traditional enterprise IAM solutions may be able to support thousands of employees at relatively predictable access patterns, but CIAM scales up to handle increased traffic. It's also elastic enough to accommodate infrequent, unpredictable usage.


Consistency - Enterprise IAM solutions are best suited for in-house solutions, and employees may have to use different access tools and processes when traveling outside the corporate firewall. With CIAM, consumers interact with a company's brand across many channels smoothly and consistently, whether using a web or mobile browser, a mobile app, a connected device or an in-store kiosk.


Technology - CIAM uses different technologies than employee-facing IAM in several key areas, including user registration, social sign-on, consent management, user profile management and branding control.


These distinct CIAM capabilities benefit both the customer and the business. They can help companies get to know their customers for a more personalized experience that builds loyalty, and they can give consumers a secure, unified, and compelling user experience across multiple channels.


Gartner claims that the gap between identity data and marketing, sales and support data is diminishing. As CIAM matures, it's converging with marketing. Decision-makers can minimize IAM operating costs and maximize revenue and user experience with CIAM solutions.


And according to Forrester, CIAM is an essential, make-or-break ingredient to the customer experience. Implemented well, it can help enterprises achieve the proper balance of customer experience and security while providing a unified view of the customer, all while meeting their security and privacy needs.


Check out our buyer's guide to find out how Ping's CIAM tools work.