A land of long distances needs superior long distance service. And when you’re a telecommunications giant serving some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America, to succeed you must innovate and approach situations with fresh perspectives.
GCI is known as a pioneer in providing cable telephone and commercial services. As a leader in outstanding customer service, GCI offers a wide range of apps including TV services, the GCI customer portal and billing systems. GCI sought to offer a smooth customer experience to their various services. In addition, the company wanted to ensure anytime, anywhere access for their 2,500 employees to all of the resources the workforce needs.
We recently sat down with enterprise architect and technologist Stephanie Kesler to talk about the challenges GCI faced around digital identity and how they solved those challenges. Watch the interview:
Below are some of the highlights excerpted from the interview.
Q: What are your needs around digital identity?
A: GCI has two very broad needs. One is enterprise identity, which is identity management of employees and contractors and partners, and then the other big piece is customer-facing identity management, which is completely different from enterprise management. We have two very large areas of identity focus, both of which have a number of different use cases.
Q: What are the main challenges regarding customer IAM?
A: The challenge around customer identity and access management (CIAM) is to create an identity experience for the customer that’s consistent, that’s simple, and gets them all the way through initial identity credentialing and then being able to access all of all of our various services, including those of our other external partners.
Q: What requirements must the solution meet?
A: There are a broad number of requirements. One of the areas that you really want to look at is, of course, security, and the usual requirements around username and password. Those are all well-defined. As we move beyond that, what we’re really interested is the concept of federated identity, where you basically have one profile that rules your access to all of our various services and different underlying applications.
Q: How are you meeting those requirements?
A: GCI is using PingFederate for our enterprise identity management. And then for our customer-facing identity and access management, we’re using both PingFederate for the login experience and PingAccess for controlling access at the API and application layer. Even though my focus now is customer identity and access management, I was involved in the enterprise deployment of PingFederate, and it was really slick. Once we rolled out our first single sign-on application, all of the application owners went “Ooh, single sign-on.” As a result, a large queue developed for various enterprise applications that wanted to become part of the overall enterprise single sign-on and experience.
Q: How has Ping helped your further your identity vision?
A: Ping has enabled us to do a number of things. We are not believers in a single application solution for identity and access management. We believe in a modular approach, and with that Ping has really enabled us to take on things like login and then application access management, and then let us build out at our level the things that we want to do around profile management, the data that’s associated with it and build out our federated identity model. So it’s provided the perfect modular components we need in order to realize that vision.