Important Things To Know About CIAM

As businesses began to go digital, more channels for communication and connection on a one-to-one level spring up. For marketers, this means they no longer have to go via the “one size fits all” path in trying to brainstorm marketing materials that can engage with the masses. Personalising interactions with customers create more opportunities for brands to convert potential customers into leads. At the same time, marketing teams are therefore challenged to continuously up their game and have the ability to understand and target potential customers. Accurate customer identity data is therefore important and extremely useful for marketing teams to analyse and used in real-time engagement points across various digital platforms. As a result, digital personalisation is what brings identity and access management beyond just the purview of the organisation’s IT department, but also into the relevance of the marketing department.

Chief marketing officers and their departments are thus realising the importance of customer identity data and how they play a pivotal role in the construction of marketing strategies. This need gives rise to customer identity and access management (CIAM). For companies who are thinking of supporting their marketing strategies with the adoption of a CIAM solution, these are some important things to take note regarding CIAM:

Convenience

Through the extensive range of websites, applications and inter-connected devices, data silos have become an issue that does not only affect IT teams, but also marketing teams. The creation and presence of data silos obscures marketing teams from being able to view customer profiles. In addition, this incites frustration for both the marketing teams and also the customers. For marketing teams, they are attempting to analyse and understand their target audience in detail, by viewing customer profile data. For customers, having to key in their particulars into one channel, such as a website, but then repeat the keying in process when they are using another platform or device, it creates inconvenience. This inconvenience and lack of seamlessness can be a factor that makes customers more likely to abandon brands and switch over to other competitors who are more accessible and convenient. With CIAM, marketers can access comprehensive customer profiles in a single perspective. Customers are able to have secured and convenient access, across multiple platforms. CIAM is thus effective in creating seamless omnichannel experiences for both customer and marketer.

Security

With CIAM, data breaches can be drastically reduced. With the advent of cloud technologies, security issues are growing more complicated and current security infrastructures have to keep up and adapt. CIAM is therefore the answer for marketing teams that are vested in digital security. Not caring about security makes a business more prone to security breaches and in turn, reputational damage. Customer data is highly private as well as valuable, and being vulnerable to data breaches is enough for customers to lose trust in a brand, and migrate to competitors with more security and trustworthiness. Implementing CIAM helps to secure identity data that marketing departments can use for personalised digital interactions.

CIAM is a marketer’s boon and the more marketers know that IAM is not just an IT priority, the better they can adapt marketing initiatives to today’s IT environment.

Why IAM Matters In Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, change is the only constant. With the ever-evolving landscape of technology and IT, it has become increasingly difficult for healthcare organisations to meet the expectations of data security and privacy. Healthcare providers handle the most valuable data on the dark web, and that is protected health information. On top of that, healthcare providers have to find ways to reduce expenditure and improve patient care. In order for healthcare companies to succeed and be able to anticipate changes in the future, it is necessary for them to incorporate a modern identity and access management (IAM) system.

IAM serves as the foundation of any healthcare companies’ security infrastructure. With the presence of a robust IAM, companies can prevent protected health information and other valuable and confidential data from being leaked by employees within the organisation or from being illegally accessed by external parties. The adoption of an IAM system also helps to cut down on help desk calls and enhance the efficiency of administrative work processes, which will lead to a reduction in costs. As a result, healthcare providers can better focus their energy and money on delivering the best user experience to customers as well as developing large scale security initiatives.

Some may wonder how does IAM achieve this? Single sign on (SSO) capabilities offered by any modern IAM solution enables user experience to be swift and seamless, without compromising security. Clinicians currently have to log into multiple workstations, applications and systems, and possibly across different locations within the hospital or organisation. Each login session is different, which is problematic, as it gives rise to security being at risk and vulnerable to hacking. With a trustworthy SSO solution in practice, clinicians and other healthcare professionals will be able to have their sessions follow them regardless of shift time or location. By having only one set of login credentials, healthcare workers can focus more on convenient access to patient data and providing patient care, without having their productivity impeded by technological barriers and time consuming processes.

For new clinicians and hospital staff members, IT and security professionals often grant access and role privileges manually. This consumes time and effort which can be better channelled into more pressing concerns such as patient care. Through a modern IAM solution, the provisioning and deprovisioning of accounts for those who have just joined the healthcare organisation and for those who have left will no longer be manual and tedious, but efficient and automated. Moreover, IAM minimises the potential for human error, which would otherwise create opportunities for breaches in security, the exposing of personal health information, as well as, the possibilities of slowdowns and ineffiencies to clinical workflow.

In recent times, it is also not a surprise to see more and more healthcare providers migrating towards the cloud and calling upon cloud based technologies and services. With the implementation of a robust IAM system, healthcare companies have enjoy better peace of mind with regards to cloud security. Furthermore, IAM ensures healthcare companies meet regulatory compliance.

Importance Of IAM At Higher Education

Identity and access management (IAM) is crucial to providing accurate, appropriate and secured access to services, data and systems. IAM can also influence how seamless and fluid the experiences of users and employees will be, which can contribute to the reputation of the company. With the advent of the Internet and modern technology in our twenty first century, more and more users are becoming increasingly tech savvy and they will therefore have higher expectations towards digitalised and personalised interactions.

While all IT organisations face the challenge of having to balance the need for business agility and cost effectiveness, educational institutions are met with a unique set of obstacles and hurdles to overcome. This includes the requirements of students, faculty members, researchers, administrators, as well as, external parties who might be collaborating with and utilising the school’s resources. All of these groups of users have very divergent demands and needs to be catered to, and thus the management of identities is absolutely imperative. IAM grants educational institutions the capabilities to navigate the complex and heterogenous technical environment of these identities and the IT security issues that are likely to be encountered along the way.

With a modern IAM solution, educational institutions no longer have to worry about regulatory compliance. Highly personal and sensitive information such as contact information, medical history and financial data are thrusted into the hands of higher education institutes who have to manage and process copious amounts of data that come from their students and other members in the campus. The challenge comes way after registration day, when IT teams have to handle the workload of administrative processes ranging from resetting forgotten passwords to troubleshooting technology involved in classroom teaching.

With IAM, these issues can be mitigated with ease. Multiple user credentials for educational and work activities can be managed. Users with more than one role can be detected by an IAM solution that has been intelligently designed for higher education needs, such that multiple access and role privileges can be merged into a single account, thus requiring only one set of login credentials. This reduces the risk of having accounts being compromised and people gaining unauthorised access to confidential data. In addition, the automated provisioning and deprovisioning of accounts enable third party applications and services to be roped into classroom teaching, enhancing the productivity of learning environments without opening the institution to data and security vulnerabilities.

As budget and manpower issues are some of the major concerns that organisations in the higher education sector face a lot, adopting a robust IAM solution will be sure to help in making sure that cost effectiveness is met. By streamlining every process and workflow that is required by the IT team to be done, IAM help to drastically cut down on costs that may be incurred in up-keeping legacy and traditional security systems that simply are not up to date with current measures and standards. This further ensures that IT teams of educational institutions can focus on more important initiatives.

Agility And Security with IAM

Agility and security seem to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum for organisations. Agility is often felt to be compromised when enhancing enterprise security. On the other side of the coin, trying to improve agile in business may contradict against IT security.

It goes without saying that companies need both, in this day and age where the Internet pervades into all aspects of life.

Agility is important for businesses to constantly stay on their feet and be versatile towards shifting priorities and market trends. Furthermore, building trust and loyalty amongst potential customers is what keeps a brand competitive and relevant, which is why being able to respond to customer feedback as well as deliver services exactly when customers want it is necessary.

In a similar breath, companies should not let down on security, given that threats from external parties are certainly on the rise and finding new weaknesses to exploit. The latter is especially pertinent given the migration to the cloud, which results in systems swiftly becoming legacy and traditional.

As the number of services and applications businesses utilise grow, it becomes more and more complicated and difficult to resolve this conundrum. Organisations are expected by their customers to deliver on time and speedily. In addition to that, applications, services and systems need to be secured, as well as, accessible across different channels and audiences. 

Fret not, for identity and access management (IAM) is specifically designed to tackle any issues with balancing agility and security. With the implementation of a modern and robust IAM system, businesses can improve work productivity as well as IT security. Moreover, applications can be connected at rapid speed, and IT teams need not suffer from great administrative overhead.

Companies have a range of choices when managing their IAM models. IDaaS, or Identity-as-a-Service, shifts the burden of managing IAM models to the IDaaS vendor, so that the company IT department do not have to concern themselves too much with the mundanity of identity and access governance. They can therefore focus more time and effort into large-scale security initiatives. Likewise, for organisations that want more control over their IAM infrastructure, they may prefer going for an IAM model to manage things themselves. And an increasingly common scenario is a combination of the two. Hybrid IAM infrastructures have recently becoming all the rage, as they come as a singular offering by IAM vendors. Instead of maintaining and developing both on-premises solutions and IDaaS services, companies can focus on deployment, integration and benefit from automated identity management features. However, with identities and applications stored in multiple locations, it can be difficult to deploy and release applications online quickly and give users the access they need.

Regardless of which situation companies find themselves in, a modern IAM solution, can mitigate the problems they might face. With the integration of modern IAM, companies will be empowered to swiftly connect new services and applications, while granting the correct people access to the right things. All in all, end user experiences will be seamless and secure.

Industrial Needs Of Financial IAM

When it comes to IT security, different industries often have different requirements. This is a result of regulatory compliance. Regulations and laws hold major influence over how security is enforced in each industry and sector. Publicly traded IT security vendors have observed that a disproportionate amount of their revenue has been generated from sectors that face stricter regulatory compliance, such as the financial services industry.

Financial services firms are often a massive target for cyber attacks and hackers, due to the fact that they store copious amounts of highly valuable and sensitive information. Apart from the fact that financial institutions are frequently targeted, a majority of financial services firms have to deal with issues that other organisations in other industries may not have to face. One such example is latency, which is a particularly big issue for trading applications. In addition, there is the issue of privacy as well as the fact that many financial services companies have a vast distribution of networks that span across countries and states with countless branch offices and outlets.

In today’s era of digital business and marketing, many financial services firms have begun to look at cloud computing. However, many of them have to deal with existing legacy identity and access management[(IAM) systems such as client-facing applications that are outdated and cannot be migrated towards the cloud. The hybrid IT environment is thus a result of the fact that financial services organisations are utilising both on-premises resources as well as cloud-based systems and software. This means that an IAM solution must be able to account for both on-premises infrastructure as well as those in the cloud, ideally doing so with a common management interface that can help to alleviate “console fatigue” and using a consistent set of policies that can be rolled out for both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure.

Financial institutions must also deal with a diverse set of end users. Employee IAM is not enough to manage the various kinds of identities that are a result of banks enlisting the services of outsourcers, external vendors and contract employers. Furthermore, banks and financial services providers typically use customer-facing applications. As part of digitalised interactions, customers desire and expect an end user experience that is seamless and secured. Financial institutions must therefore take into account the capabilities of their adopted IAM solution (given the fact that customer IAM is drastically different from the typical enterprise IAM) so as to meet the unpredictable demands of consumers and other business partners.

Thus a robust IAM solution should ideally be broad enough to support each of these needs and be able to adapt to new requirements as they emerge, with a single view that allows for centralized management. Lastly, most financial services firms require a platform that will enable them to continue to leverage existing on-prem resources, while at the same time allowing them to migrate to the cloud at their own pace without undergoing “forklift” upgrades that can be disruptive to both internal staff as well as customers.

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.

Orphan Accounts And IAM

What are Orphan Accounts?

An orphan account is an account that does not belong to a valid identity and it is not clear who the account belongs to. Orphan accounts pose a risk to a company’s IT security. First of all, the account may have belonged to an employee who has left the organisation. This can lead to a higher susceptibility of being compromised or misused, as the account is still active and can be used without the owner’s awareness. Secondly, orphan accounts may result from a failure to properly de-provision accounts when an employee is no longer part of the company. By somehow escaping the paper trail of user account deprovisioning, these accounts expose chinks in the company’s IT security armour, without the IT team being in the know about these flaws. Furthermore, orphan accounts can be hacked into and exploited, enabling people with malicious intents to obtain unauthorised access to the company’s resources and data.

To make matters worse, employees may have installed external applications and services without informing the company’s IT department, which creates a presence for shadow IT. When an employee exits the company, their colleagues may still utilise these external applications for work matters, using the same set of login credentials to access the applications. The orphan account is thus a shared account which act as a backdoor. As the shared account is not under the monitoring and control of the company, such backdoors go unnoticed by the IT team, allowing hackers to use the orphan accounts as backdoors. They can thus easily bypass the IT team’s security systems and proceed to disrupt organisational operations and wreck havoc from the inside. Many IT departments have a fear of killing off these orphan accounts due to the possibility of hindering crucial business processes and operations, which may lead to the IT departments not actively seeking out orphan accounts and sealing any security holes.

The creation of orphan accounts can be traced and linked to provisioning systems themselves. To execute the provisioning and de-provisioning process of user accounts, a lot of manual work is required. In some scenarios, the amount of work needed to deprovision an account is extensive due to the complicated nature of the provisioning systems, with technologies that are a mess to deal with. The provisioning and deprovisioning systems therefore create a lot of inconsistencies in the provisioning and de-provisioning processes, culminating in the presence of orphan accounts that have been left undocumented and have not been reliably deactivated.

How To Deal With Orphan Accounts?

With identity and access management (IAM) services in place, the processes of account provisioning and deprovisioning can be streamlined and automated. This reduces the manual workload on IT teams, while ensuring that IT security will not be compromised. Accounts will be appropriately deactivated whenever employees leave the organisation. Through the cleaning up of orphan accounts, holes in IT security can be plugged, stopping any hackers. With modern IAM, organisations can mitigate security risks arising from the presence of orphan accounts.