What Is Customer Identity and Access Management, and How Can It Protect Your Business?

What Is Customer Identity and Access Management, and How Can It Protect Your Business?

It’s no secret that cybersecurity is a growing threat. Every year, we hear about a new area that cybercriminals are targeting.

The victims of these attacks are varied, as well. Governments, businesses, and individuals alike are susceptible to attacks throughout their daily activities. …and each year the number of attacks is growing.

Security Magazine cites data claiming that the number of cyber attacks in 2022 rose by 38% compared to the previous 12 months. Gartner adds that companies are addressing this growing concern through security mesh architecture, a concept that includes utilizing tools that can interoperate together.

One of these cutting-edge cybersecurity tools that is quickly gaining attention is customer identity and access management (or CIAM) systems. Let’s break down what this innovative term means, what CIAM systems look like, and how they can benefit your business.

What Is CIAM?

Okta defines the concept of customer identity and access management as a system that “allows you to harness all of the data you have about your customers in one safe, secure spot.” The global cybersecurity brand adds that this centralization of information uses robust security measures, like encryption. It also provides a single databank that can keep up with regulations and privacy laws.

Critically, a CIAM allows users of a company’s products to access all of its platforms and tools without providing information over and over again across a variety of applications and websites. This is a common occurrence.

For instance, a brand might have customers log in separately to use each of its websites and apps. This creates an unnecessary proliferation of usernames and passwords, each of which has the potential to become a target for a cybercriminal.

Instead, CIAM systems function as a single repository of information. Customers can see what information they’ve provided, and they can use that same CIAM to log into all of the customer-facing elements of a company’s tech stack.

This localization of data avoids the build-up of siloed, overly complex, and exposed information. This naturally reduces the number of weak links in a company’s cybersecurity network.

The Benefits of Customer Identity and Access Management

CIAMs offer a myriad of benefits for businesses and consumers alike. Here are a few of the biggest selling points that are pushing a growing number of companies toward CIAM solutions.

CIAM Systems Are User-Friendly for Customers

Starting on the consumer side of the equation, CIAM systems make cybersecurity much easier. It removes the need for clients or customers to create multiple logins across a dozen or more company tools.

Instead, they create one strong account in a single location that allows them to interact with every aspect of a company’s suite of services. This streamlines the process of accessing a product or service. It also introduces a higher degree of consistency throughout the customer experience.

CIAM Systems Are User-Friendly for Businesses

It’s also worth noting that there’s a business benefit side to this user-friendly nature. CIAMs reduce the number of customer touchpoints that a brand’s IT department needs to monitor, update, and manage. This makes basic operations and interactions easier …and safer (more on that further down).

CIAM Systems Are Scalable

A CIAM system centralizes key data points for a brand’s customers. This formalizes and simplifies things like customer onboarding and data management.

A natural side effect of this is that it makes it easier to scale customer identity and security when a company grows. Instead of managing an increase in customers across a variety of platforms and tech tools, a business can use its CIAM to effortlessly grow or shrink its client data according to its current needs.

CIAM Systems Are Safe (and Compliant)

The biggest takeaway of CIAM systems is that they offer safe and compliant solutions in a world that is increasingly worried about cybersecurity threats. As the danger of cybercrime grows each year, CIAM systems offer a way for businesses to operate safely online with a tool that keeps things safe and simple.

While it may be centralized, this safety isn’t a single wall of protection, either. Good CIAM systems implement multiple layers of security. Encryption is a common one. Offering more complex authentication options (such as biometrics or geographic-based access) is also growing in popularity. It’s also much easier to keep a single customer database transparent and up to current cybersecurity regulations.

Using CIAM to Protect Your Business

The cybersecurity world is growing more complicated every year. At the same time, the dependency of businesses on technology and the online world is only becoming stronger.

Companies that want to continue to take advantage of the power of e-commerce and the online marketplace must put rock-solid cybersecurity measures in place. They must find tools that safeguard their activity, both now and in the future, and can grow with their needs over time.

CIAM systems are offering a way to do just that through a centralized, interoperable solution that streamlines business activity while protecting and improving the customer experience.

About author

Carl Herman is an editor at DataFileHost enjoys writing about the latest Tech trends around the globe.