The Differences Between Customer IAM & Traditional IAM

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Nowadays, having good business is all about ensuring a great experience for potential customers. No one enjoys having to go through a cumbersome and tedious process of signing on when they wish to access websites and online applications. While this is not a new phenomenon per se, it is due to the hyper-connected state of technology and the Internet that has catapulted online shopping and the rising trends of consumers conducting transactions with services and brands across the world wide web. As a result, the current century has observed the advent of self-service web portals, kiosks and networks of connected devices. In order to stay relevant and competitive within the market, Organisations have to maintain a high standard of customer experience throughout various channels and platforms.

As businesses implement new ways of connecting with their customers across various platforms, the applications and services that run them are no longer inside the firewall exclusively. Coupled with the fact that some applications and services are provided by third party developers and vendors, enterprises run the risk of encountering a whole set of identity and access management(IAM) concerns and challenges. The need for relevant cyber security softwares becomes increasingly pertinent for businesses then.

Traditional IAM was created for the management of employee access to on-premises systems and applications. When it comes to the management of customer identity, traditional IAM lacks the features and the tools to address and overcome those issues. Customers therefore had to deal with clunky login processes, when security was prioritised over agility and business. In this day and age, customers now have the choice to ditch an inconvenient and clunky application in favour of another one that is far more seamless and secured. This in turns causes businesses to start paying more attention to their applications and services so as to become ahead of the competition. By adopting a customer IAM solution, such competitive advantage is offered. At the same time, organisations can still maintain the integrity and the privacy of their existing networks and security infrastructure, as well as, be able to adapt to any new IAM obstacles that may pop up along the way.   

How do customer IAM solutions work differently from traditional IAM?

1. Scalability

Although traditional IAM solutions may be equipped to support thousands of employees at relatively predictable patterns of access behaviour, customer IAM has the capability to scale up in accordance to increasing traffic. Unpredictable and irregular patterns of usage are likewise not an issue for customer IAM due to its elastic nature.

2. Consistency

As traditional IAM is best tailored for in-house solutions, employees may have to use different access tools when they find themselves going beyond the enterprise firewall. Through customer IAM, the company’s brand is able to interact with customers across many platforms and channels, be it through a mobile or web browser, a mobile app, or a connected device.

3. Technology

Customer IAM differs from traditional IAM in terms of their technological structure. These technologies include: user registration, user profile management, social sign on, consent management and branding control.

These features are what differentiates customer IAM from traditional IAM.

Why Banks Need Customer IAM

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In the recent years, the industry of banking and financial services have been going through a paradigm shift as a result of digital transformation. A report has evidence to prove that omnichannel availability has been thus surpassed by the preference for digitalised interactions. And this makes sense given that the average financial services customer does not frequently go to a physical bank branch, now that people are able to transfer money and deposit cheques through their smartphones at the tip of their fingers.

With the adoption of a customer identity and access management (IAM) solution, financial services companies and banks can easily take maximum advantage of their applications and digital platforms to enhance customer experience with added cyber security which will in turn boost trust and loyalty. Customer IAM further ensures the secured access to digital channels and platforms, as well as, making sure that all sensitive and valuable data that the customers provide is entrusted and stored safely.

In today’s day and age, everything can be done through one’s mobile devices and smart technology. Statistics have seen an increasing number of banking customers using their personal handheld devices to access financial services and conduct online transactions. In order to remain relevant and competitive, financial services firms and banking companies are therefore compelled to ensure the ease of access across different channels and mobile devices. It has been made clear that customers actively using mobile devices are setting the agenda and banks must therefore listen to their demands and needs.

To enhance customer experience, banking and financial services institutions are required to provide seamless user experiences for a range of applications, channels and devices. With the single sign on (SSO) feature offered by most customer IAM solutions, logging in across various channels has never been made more seamless than now. Through the leveraging of SSO capabilities, customers are able to log in to numerous applications and websites with just a single set of login credentials. With federated SSO, the same set of customer credentials can be used for third party services and domains.

With digital banking platforms, financial services and banking companies can collect data about every unique customer, including the applications and tools that they use and how they use them according to their needs. As a result, banks and financial services companies can be better equipped with the knowledge to offer personalised advice and services to their customers based on financial goals, activity trends and personal preferences. Higher levels of personalized experiences are more likely to increase customer loyalty, as a result of customer service building loyalty and trust in the financial industry. Customer IAM solutions with customer profiling capabilities collects multiple data points and stores all these information regarding customers in a centralised database. This enables companies to have a comprehensive view of each and every customer, thus gaining valuable marketing insights.

Aside from that, customer IAM ensures that banks and financial institutions meet strict industrial regulations. Data privacy is key to industrial success and maintaining customer trust. Without customer IAM, banks would run into many security challenges.

Why Banks Need IAM

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Banks must already satisfy many regulatory requirements with regards to the privacy and security of customer data. Such regulatory compliance is only set to become ever more stringent with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation having been put into effect. It is with no doubt for good reasons that these regulations have been in place across various industries and markets. Banks are the trusted keepers of sensitive and confidential information given by the customers. Furthermore, as cybercriminals and hackers look towards getting their hands on such valuable information, banks are the institutions standing in their way against those who wish to steal data to make a huge profit.

Identity and access management (IAM) is a key element of any bank’s strategy in protecting and securing customer data and privacy. Using this IT security software, the IT administrators of banks will be able to centralise authentication and access control points in the digital environment. IAM also helps to mitigate the security risks and effects of breaches as well as assisting them in the swift recovery from any insider attacks.

What is Identity and Access Management?

Banks should essentially run their operations on the principle of least privilege, which is to say, the access rights for users (namely employees and business units) should be the bare minimum of permissions that is required for them to perform their job scope efficiently. IAM enables banks to monitor and regulate these access privileges.

IAM solutions include several critical elements, including multifactor authentication, single sign on (SSO), password management and provisioning, and maintenance of a privileged identity. With a modern and robust IAM solution in place, banks will be empowered in the fight to reduce security breaches and decreasing the attack surface. By letting banks consolidate the identities of customers and employees, deliver least-privilege omnichannel access, and controlling shared accounts, a good IAM solution will be able to achieve secured remote access and have all privileged sessions audited.

What are the benefits of Identity and Access Management?

Having an IAM solution up and running on the grounds essentially allow banks to create security zones that can shut down attacks. Often times, breaches and compromising of security happens as a result of privilege escalation which is when the attacker makes use of bugs to gain elevated access to critical networks and systems, all through using a user account with low level privileges. This step up to a higher level of access privilege is what allowed the attackers to fly under the radar of existing security controls and take over the IT environment.

Through modern IAM, security zones can be instituted by banking companies which will limit how much access a user account can have between various systems and applications. By limiting the privileged access of a user account and with an IAM solution running in the background, the attacker has only a limited set of commands to execute. Furthermore, IAM solutions enhance investigation and recovery against insider attackers by providing session auditing and assisting forensics investigations. With numerous security solutions to consider, banks should make IAM their number one priority.