Top 5 Tech Considerations for Customer IAM

August 22, 2016

So, you're considering a customer identity and access management (IAM) solution for your organization? Just know that not all customer IAM solutions are created equal.


Customer IAM capabilities usually include user registration, social login, user profile management, access management, and some form of single sign-on (SSO) across apps. But the wild card is how these capabilities work together to either enhance or impede the all-important customer experience. Before taking the plunge, there are several technology imperatives that Gartner says must be considered.


1. A customer IAM solution should balance usability and security. Ease of use for consumers and end users is paramount, but not at the expense of privacy or lax practices for accessing corporate data. Just as you wouldn't leave your front door wide open for visitors to walk in, your business should be welcoming without inviting cyber thieves.


2. Architect the solution for scalability and always-available access to a branded user experience. The scale of customer IAM programs is often much larger than that of employee IAM programs. Customer populations can extend to the millions and can fluctuate at any time, so you should evaluate vendors on their ability to support scalability, as well as branding, customizations, availability and performance. Select a vendor that can easily adjust to your current and future business needs.


3. The solution must work at 'consumer speed' with instant access to applications. Consumers don't have the patience to wait for slow login and registration services. If performance is poor or responsiveness is slow, users will abandon the app and move on to your competitors. The customer IAM solution must offer millisecond response times.


4. Integrate with existing complex identity investments. Let's face it. It's never convenient to take a rip-and-replace approach when you've got years of legacy technology in place. Sometimes, it just makes more sense to extend significant IAM investments that have already been made. Use of existing identity tools, even when there are separate instances, can potentially reduce technical support, training and licensing costs. In these cases, make sure your customer IAM solution is engineered to integrate seamlessly with what's installed.


5. Accommodate diverse platforms across web, mobile and API. A single customer journey often spans web, mobile, phone and in-person interactions with your brand. This has driven an explosion of new use cases for customer identity--not to mention, unique requirements. Make sure your customer IAM solution can address not just today's browser and software-based applications across these platforms, but has the vision and capabilities to meet future needs, such as the Internet of Things, big data, marketing, sales, product development and risk management initiatives.


Armed with these five technology considerations, you're now better equipped for your journey into customer IAM solutions. Still need more? Check out our white paper, "Choosing a Customer IAM Solution for Your Digital Enterprise," or download our CIAM Buyer's Guide to help you get started.