Why Financial Institutions Are Choosing Cloud IAM

Financial institutions these days are starting to adopt cloud resources to enhance the productivity levels of their businesses. By making sure that their employees are able to work with the best tools, organisations can optimise their profits and successes. That being said, financial services providers still find themselves often running into major obstacles that make it tough to migrate to the cloud.

As financial institutions hold the responsibility of managing massive amounts of information and data of a highly confidential and valuable nature, they find themselves carrying a great target on their backs. Cybercriminals wanting to earn an extremely hefty payoff will go all the way in getting their hands on such valuable and sensitive data. Failure to secure data systems will result in not only damages to the institutions’ finances, but also to their reputation as customers will immediately lose their trust and loyalty in the company.

With the leading causes of data breaches being identified as theft of login credentials and the compromising of user accounts, cloud identity and access management(IAM) solutions come into the picture as they are able to enhance the IT security of financial services organisations through various means.

Passwords will no longer become the weak spots of an organisation’s security infrastructure. Through the features of single sign-on (SSO), IT teams are empowered to be able to enforce tight password regulations across systems and applications that are being used by both customers and employees. SSO further eliminates the need to remember different sets of login credentials and writing them down, therefore reducing the risk of an account being compromised by a hacker. To augment existing security systems, multifactor authentication (MFA) offers another layer of protection against hackers. No matter how complex a password can be, hackers can still find a way to break the code using their latest tech resources. It is therefore necessary to tap on the strengths of MFA which prevents any user account from being accessed by unauthorised people. In the background, risk assessments and account logins are constantly being tracked and monitored, so as to any suspicious and high-risk attempts of logging in. If there is a suspicious login attempt being traced from an unusual geographical location, IP address, device, or timing, MFA will kick in with extra authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of the user. Aside from empowering the security of user accounts, modern IAM solutions enable IT administrators to regulate access control across different channels, services, applications and systems, through the methods of whitelisting and access restriction based on IP address or geographical location.

Another main concern for organisation is the compliance to legal regulatory requirements, especially within the financial services sector. Failure to pass audits will result in business being affected. Cloud IAM enables financial institutions to demonstrate IAM practices through reports and analyses based on event data supplied in real-time. Moreover, IAM is able to combat the risks of shadow IT, through the enhancement of workplace productivity. Cloud IAM thus helps financial organisations balance efficiency and security.

IAM & Customer Experiences

Right now, the buzzword ‘customer experience’ is the main priority of many businesses. Amidst a world that is fuelled by technology and the genesis of the Internet, it should come as no shock that many innovative brands and savvy financial services providers are honing in on customer experiences. In doing so, they ensure customer loyalty, which is absolutely key to an organisation’s success.

As customers start to become way more tech-savvy users who are always equipped with mobile and other handheld devices on the go, it is natural for them to develop higher expectations of a company’s digitalised services and technologies. Having personalised digital interactions with potential customers is therefore a very crucial area that financial institutions are concentrating their efforts on. The challenges start to arise when businesses must thoroughly consider: a) how to make each customer experience unique and personal, and b) how to ensure that it is accessible and convenient for the customer to do business with the company.

Where in all of these things does identity and access management(IAM) fall into? With modern IAM specifically designed for financial services, financial service providers no longer have to lose sleep over brainstorming how to garner customer loyalty.

As part of a robust IAM solution, single sign-on (SSO) capabilities provides convenience for the customers, enabling them to be able to easily access any application or financial service, whether they may be located in the cloud or on-premises, or even delivered by a third party developer. Through federated SSO, customers only require a single set of login credentials to be authenticated by the IT security system once. And from there on, all the services and financial tools they may possibly require and are provided by the organisation will be at the tips of their fingers, ranging from bill payment, personal banking, insurance quotations, credit scores and so on. At the convenience of SSO, customers are guaranteed to have not only a seamless and productive user experience, but they also enjoy the security and knowledge that their highly personal and sensitive data is safeguarded. 

In a similar vein, customers who are connected on the go expect intelligent experiences, beyond just convenience. Customers are more likely to come back and pledge loyalty to the financial services organisation when they feel valued. In order to make them feel valued as customers, it is necessary that their customer experiences are topped off with the feeling of being recognised and remembered. By making them feel more like a person, rather than a data point, customers are more likely to develop trust and brand loyalty to the company. This further ensures that organisations do not lose customers to other rival brands and competitors in the industry. With IAM, companies are empowered with the functions of unified customer profiles. Consisting of identity data, privacy consents and other personal data, customer profiles allow companies to better understand their customers and cater to their needs.This facilitates lightning-fast experiences that instil a personal connection between the customer and the company.

With IAM, financial services organisation are empowered to earn and keep customer loyalty.

Customer IAM And Its Importance

What is Customer IAM?

Customer IAM is also known as Customer Identity Access Management (IAM) and refers to the management of customer identities and profile data. CIAM is also what allows organisations to control customer access to services and applications owned by the company.

Robust CIAM systems normally offer a combination of various features that include self-service account management, customer registration, single sign-on (SSO) functionality, consent and preference management, multifactor authentication (MFA) mechanisms, and directory services. Implementing an appropriate customer IAM solution for the company will ensure that customer experience will be secured as well as seamless, with high performance and scale regardless of which platform the customer utilises to interact with the organisation. For most businesses and brands, their goal is to transform simple customer experiences into customer engagement that is true and it is through the presence of customer IAM that they can reach this goal.

Why is Customer IAM important?

Customers are people who hold purchasing power and have the liberty to choose whichever brand or company they would like to use their purchasing power on. If the experience is not ideal or does not meet the customer’s standards, they would simply leave and seek out other competing brands and enterprises to do business with. Having great customer engagement and customer experience is therefore a critical factor that enables organisations to stand out from their competitors and gain an advantageous edge within the industry. Statistics have proven that customers are willing to pay more for enhanced customer experience and when their expectations are met by the organisation.

Having top-notch security is another deal breaking factor when it comes to gaining the trust of customers. Data and security breaches make the headlines and will cause many customers to lose trust in a company. Organisations who have suffered from compromising of security and data lose a good majority of their customer base almost immediately. With customer IAM, organisations can augment the experience of customer engagement, while maintaining IT security.

While most organisations already have modern IAM systems and services in place for employee management, those systems are not the same as customer IAM solutions. Customer identities are managed differently than that of employee identities, and employee IAM systems usually lack the features that balance customer experience with customer security.

With the introduction of mobile devices, IoT devices, and various external applications and vendors, the scale of customer access has expanded over the years. Customer IAM unifies the profiles of customers and simplifies access in order for companies to engage with potential customers. This ensures personalised interactions between customers and brands, as well as, consistent customer experiences across different channels.

As the scale and intensity of cyber attacks on organisations become more frequent and relentless, there is a crucial need to secure valuable customer information and personal data. With customer IAM solutions, multifactor authentication among other robust layers of security will reduce the risk of security breaches. Companies can thus reduce the chances of losing the trust of their customer base, and continue to bolster their reputation.

Manpower Shortage In IT Teams

Across the globe, many public and private sector industries are seeing a drastic shortage in cybersecurity skills and talents within the workforce. Many organisations suffer from a cybersecurity team that is severely overloaded with work, due to the falling numbers of people with the necessary cybersecurity skills, and the ever-increasing list of things cybersecurity teams have to handle. In this article, we take a look at how modern identity and access management (IAM) services can play a significant role in mitigating the drastic impacts of a cybersecurity skill shortage.

With modern IAM solutions, cybersecurity teams can streamline their current workflow and processes, automating any tasks that are tediously repetitive and consume way too much time. Through end user self-service features, IT departments can reduce their help desk workload (for example, cutting down on password management-related cases) which will in turn grant them more time and energy to focus on IT security issues of higher priorities. In addition, end user experience will be much more enhanced, given the fact that users have the ability to manage their own accounts and retrieve the help that they need faster. For instance, they have the capabilities to reset forgotten passwords without having to go through the administrative processes of IT help desks. Organisations who have enabled end user self-service via IAM systems have seen a major reduction in help desk costs, allowing them to channel their savings into other initiatives and projects.

The processes of identity lifecycle management is also automated with the adoption of an IAM solution. Time is no longer wasted in account creation and deprovisioning, which were initially highly manual and time consuming processes. IAM also allows for account changes to be easily applied across multiple directory systems and databases. Furthermore, IAM ensures that no orphaned accounts exist and that no user is entitled to rights they should not be having, to prevent any risk of a network breach, thus augmenting the integrity of the IT security infrastructure. The efficient automated identity lifecycle management allows organisations to concentrate more time onto strategic initiatives.

With the shortage of IT security skills in the workforce, it is important to figure out ways to circumvent situations of being understaffed. Modern IAM systems grant companies the ability to delegate administrative responsibilities, which would empower business managers as they are the best people to know which employee or third party user would need what level of access and how long they would need it for. Modern IAM services provide an array of features and functionalities that enable companies to manoeuvre around an ever-evolving IT security landscape, without being burdened by the stress of skill shortage. It is through boosting efficiency and productivity levels that IT departments can remain on top of their game despite the ominous lack of IT security talents. The future for digital security may appear bleak to organisations and institutions across the world, but with the appropriate IAM technologies and products, IT security teams will be able to navigate and weather the storm of skills shortage.