Customer Identity Access Management (CIAM) is essential to any company that requires customers to use their web services to use (or improve the usage of) their products.
Although at first it may sound like something only common in the IT industry, all companies offering web services to consumers rely on CIAM to conduct their daily business.
Everything from online forums, streaming services, web shops – basically any site where users have to register to gain access and conduct business – will have some CIAM protocols in place.
What Exactly Is CIAM?
Customer Identity Access Management, or CIAM for short, is a term used to describe processes surrounding access management and user identification of your customers.
If this sounds familiar, it could be because CIAM is a sub-category of Identity Access Management (IAM), which we’ve talked about in previous blog posts.
The main difference is that in CIAM clients share their information and profiles (accounts) with you, making their data security your first priority.
In some definitions, the term “customer” may be substituted with “consumer”.
Don’t let it confuse you, as they’re the same thing.
It doesn’t matter if your business has a network of customers interacting and exchanging information or hosts individual client accounts.
As long as you have that “Register” button – require customers to create an account – you need to set up appropriate CIAM protocols.
Why Proper CIAM Solutions Are a Top Priority for Companies
On one hand, network and information security – especially that of customers – is any company’s top priority.
However, it’s easy to get carried away and set up too many unnecessary security barriers.
On the other hand, the most common top priorities among consumers are quick access and ease of use.
It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve sunk into network security, functionality, and aesthetics of your service.
You can have the best app in the world, if it’s too hard to understand, takes too many steps to access, and is slow to load, it’s losing or repelling clients.
Believe it or not, some customers will refuse to register for as little as your password requirement being too complicated.
That being said, do not underestimate your customers.
Although security is generally a few steps down in their priority, they expect it to be high by default.
Consumers won’t forgive poor security and abandon services which make them feel unsafe.
Reports have shown that large percentages of users (up to 85%) don’t use/stop using a service if they believe its data security is not high enough.
6 Common Challenges of CIAM And Their Solutions
Setting up the proper CIAM system for your company comes with a few challenges.
However, they’re easy to overcome with the right tools.
1. Ease of access
Customers will want to be able to access your service through a variety of devices quickly. The best solution for this challenge is handling CIAM through a cloud-based service compatible with all devices.
2. Difficult login protocols
Additional security is good, as long as it’s justifiable and doesn’t undermine the user experience. It’s not uncommon for users to abandon a service because of annoying captcha and other security challenges. Setting up multi-factor authentication (MFA) such as two-factor authentication (2FA) is a fairly user-friendly way to add more security. These methods are found to also increase the client’s trust. You want to have a service which can set up and enforce MFA easily.
3. Complicated password setups
Most customers are self-aware enough to understand when a strong password requirement is important, and when it’s simply unnecessary. Services that carry sensitive information and where one account can quickly affect large amounts of data should always require strong passwords (along with MFA). However, it’s quite common among users to use simple passwords on accounts that carry small amounts of (typically harmless) data or those that will be shared among friends/family. Popular streaming services are a common example of this trend. To get the best of both worlds, using and providing customers with a password encryption tool, with which it’s easy to share login details, is the best solution.
Since the internet became a part of daily life, behavior towards customer service has taken a 180-degree turn. The customers of today want to be able to fix common issues (troubleshoot) and gather information themselves. Self-service is the future of customer service. Your clients should be able to change the basics of their account, such as their subscription model or personal info, themselves. The proper solution is a single platform from which customers can edit (or request quick changes for) their accounts.
5. Acess privilege control
Consumers want to be able to acquire (or easily request) all resources provided by your service. Likewise, you want to have a complete overview and control of who has access to what. The best solution is one centralized platform for sharing resources, from which you can grant or revoke access privileges as quickly as with one click.
6. CIAM system scalability
Companies are everchanging, the rules of today may not apply tomorrow. Whatever protocols you set up today, may need to change based on a variety of factors. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Changes in customer behavior
- Changes in market expectations
- Industry standard changes
- Changes within the law
This is why most modern businesses see cloud-based management platforms as the best CIAM solutions. They’re easily customizable and can be scaled up or down depending on the need.
Why AppsCo One Is the Ideal Partner for CIAM Solutions
AppsCo One is an HR and IT master management tool capable of handling the 6 common CIAM challenges and much more, using just ONE app.
- It’s completely cloud-based and accessible on all devices.
- Setting up and turning MFA on/off is easy with AppsCo.
- The service has a built-in secure data vault and password encryption tool for both company and private accounts.
- Depending on your setup, users can easily customize their profiles and edit or add information.
- Managers can use AppsCo to overview and administrate access privileges through the user-friendly dashboard in just a few clicks.
- Customer account setup, repurposing, and termination are easy with AppsCo.
The app is completely customizable with company branding and capable of integrating and carrying out company policy.