customer identity and access management

Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is taking over the customer login experience. There’s more at stake than just registration and authentication. If all you’re getting from your customers when they log in is an email address to send newsletters and passwords, you’re missing out on a host of benefits. In this article, we explain how CIAM 2.0 can help your business face the future head-on.

CIAM simplifies every business task that deals with your customers on an individual basis, including customers that haven’t registered on your site yet. With a single data hub for all identities, CIAM seamlessly links authentication, customer management, sales, marketing, business intelligence, and services. Consequently, this means that security and data protection are streamlined for you and your customers.

Can you really afford not to use CIAM?

“If your business isn’t using CIAM, you stand every chance of lagging behind businesses that are making the most of the technology and the customer data it collects.”

What Is Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)?

Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is a software solution that combines login verification with customer data storage and monitoring in a single location that links to all of your customer-oriented systems. CIAM gives you a centralized customer database that links to all of your other apps and services.

At its simplest, a CIAM solution consists of a customer-facing side with self-service fields for password, name, username, email, and data protection consent. Authentication features such as single sign-on, social profile integration, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and choice of communication preferences serve to enhance your customer’s online experience.

customer identity and access management

Logging on via your CIAM system is usually the first interaction a customer has each time they visit your site. A smooth and secure login experience is the minimum that today’s customers expect from a modern organization. It engenders trust and encourages your customers to come back to you time and again.

From an enterprise point of view, a CIAM solution has a number of useful features that can improve security, enhance customer data collation, and provide useful data to marketing and sales departments.

The data that’s collected about each customer can be tied into your company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software to benefit your sales and marketing team. It can be used to build an understanding of the complete customer journey—device, location, types of activities, pages looked at, purchasing patterns, and more.

The Standard Benefits of CIAM

A basic CIAM system provides these advantages for a business and its customers.

1. Streamlined customer experience

A streamlined customer experience shows current and future customers an organization that’s up-to-date and concerned about providing the easiest login possible.

By providing an easy login experience for your applications and services, you encourage customers to try out more of your digital offerings. The end result is a customer who is more embedded in your digital ecosystem, without any extra effort on your part.

“A streamlined customer experience shows current and future customers an organization that’s up-to-date and concerned about providing the easiest login possible.”

For example, implementing single sign-on through a customer identity and access management system means a customer only needs one account for all of your digital touchpoints. Whether your customers are signing in from a browser or a mobile device, they’ll benefit from not having to sign in repeatedly to different services again and again—encouraging repeat use of your apps and services.

2. Security for data and accounts

A standard CIAM system provides essential security features that safeguard both data and account access. For example, with risk-based authentication, each customer’s usage and login patterns are monitored, making it easy to spot unusual (and therefore potentially fraudulent) activity.

For use cases where you need an extra layer of security, you can enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), which verifies a customer’s identity by requiring a second step such as entering an SMS code or clicking an email link.

Your secure login procedures reassure customers that they are safe using your services—something that’s essential with the number of public data breaches reaching the news.

customer identity and access management

3. Scalability and uptime

With just one customer identity management system that’s fully managed for you, reliability is maximized, and the need for resources is kept to a minimum. A centralized login system for all of your apps and services makes it easy to add new services as they come online. A cloud implementation can quickly scale up or down depending on your usage, and automated failover can cut downtime to virtually zero.

A modern CIAM solution reduces workload for your IT department and makes it easy to expand your business as your digital ecosystem grows.

4. A unified view of each customer

By connecting the data gathered from all of your services and websites, you get a complete overview of each customer. With a full picture of everything a customer has done since the first time they visited your site, you’ll have access to real-world data in startling detail.

customer identity and access management

You can use this data to monitor customer journeys across multiple apps and services, create marketing personas that really reflect your customers, design new products or special offers, and direct your customers towards choices that will benefit you both.

When you understand your customers more deeply, you can reach them more easily and serve them better. All of this adds up to more revenue and a lower cost of acquisition and retention.

5. Compliance with privacy regulations

Privacy compliance is a critical aspect of any company handling customer data and an essential part of any online business. The EU’s GDPR is just one example of privacy laws that have a global reach, with their effect on any data flowing into or out of the EU. Most Western countries have similar regulations or are in the process of enacting similar laws, and the rest of the world is rapidly catching up.

If you have an online business that you want to keep viable in 2019 or beyond, it’s vital that you maintain compliance with these regulations. Here are some of the things you need to provide or be able to do to meet regulations:

  • Provide customers with a detailed report of their data that you hold.
  • Enable customers to access their data via self-service.
  • Allow customers to control which of their data you keep or discard.
  • Provide regulators a report of your user data usage and retention policies.
  • Show regulators the steps you take to keep customer data secure.
  • Show that you minimize data retention and avoid using data unnecessarily.

CIAM can also be tailored to meet the regulatory requirements of different regions—essential for a global business.

“A modern CIAM solution enables you to meet all of these privacy requirements and more, while simplifying the process and reducing the costs associated.“

The Evolution of CIAM 2.0

A customer identity access management solution can bridge the gap between your customers and the latest developments in identity and personal data protection—essential in today’s connected world. The evolution of CIAM 2.0 helps you take the next step in assuring your customers’ online safety, while continuing to simplify their online experience across new digital platforms.

Many companies are providing their customers with a modern digital experience thanks to a customer identity management system. If you want to give your customers the same advantages, the time to act is now.

6. Advanced login options

In the world of CIAM 2.0, a business can gain an advantage by implementing new and advanced login options that are not yet widely adopted. These login methods further improve customer experience, customer trust, or both.

Passwordless Login simplifies and streamlines the login process, while at the same time making it more protected. It also helps you present your company as a modern, secure organization that uses the latest technology to safeguard your customers. Passwordless login uses a customer’s email address or phone number to send them a one-time link that they click to log in.

One-Touch Login also allows customers to log in with a generated link sent to their email address or a one-time password sent to their phone. However, unlike Passwordless Login, the customer does not need to be an existing user in the system, and no credentials are submitted. In other words, the customer gets the benefits of secure access without the commitment of account creation.

Smart Login gives users a quick and secure login for the internet of things (IoT) and smart devices, which are increasingly becoming a vital part of today’s digital ecosystem. Smart Login delegates the authentication process for smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other IoT devices to another device that is easier and more secure for entering and managing passwords.

customer identity and access management

7. Optimized data collection

As customers become more savvy and cautious about handing over their data, businesses can leverage CIAM 2.0 to collect information in more respectful ways.

Anonymous Login allows you to assign an ID to anonymous users and use it to track their journey through your site. If these users proceed to sign up for a service, this ID is converted to a non-anonymous ID, enabling you to see which pathways tend to lead to customer registrations, as well as helping you monitor passing traffic.

Essentially, anonymous users are “shadow” logged in to their assigned IDs, letting you track many aspects of their usage and access. Data from potential customers that don’t sign up for your services can be just as vital as data from registered customers, helping you hone your product to attract more sign-ups.

Progressive Profiling allows you to collect customer data over time, as it’s needed. You can start by building a very basic profile with the simplest of login details (name and email, or a social login request for just these details). You can then ask for more detailed information as needed depending on which of your products customers go on to use.

customer identity and access management

Progressive Profiling is a great way to leverage today’s limited social login data and a fantastic way to let you build trust as you build up a picture of your customer. You can also use progressive profiling to measure how much your customers trust you by offering the opportunity to add more information without making it compulsory.

Social Login can be as much of a risk as it is a benefit in today’s digital environment when major social providers are plagued by data leaks and account breaches. With care, Social Login can still be a great way for your customers to access your services.

As part of privacy compliance, businesses need to be clear with customers about their consent to data collection and communication.

CIAM 2.0 provides tools for managing a customer’s consent in order to give them understanding and control over that consent. Consent management involves requesting consent during registration and authentication and provides the ability to modify existing consents and apply new consents retroactively.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with CIAM 2.0

Today, we’re in the process of moving away from simple customer access to more complex data monitoring to gain a better understanding of each customer.

We’re also entering a new era governed by a complex ecosystem of data protection laws, meaning that the businesses of today and tomorrow will need to keep up if they want to continue to operate on a global scale.

As digital transformation continues to change customer expectations, companies will have to grow and change, as well. A CIAM solution like LoginRadius can help you achieve this with customer account information, including data, consent, and activity, accessible from one dashboard.