Software Applications for Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)
Over the past few years, there’s been a major shift in the way customers interact with brands. The importance of customer identity and access management (CIAM) is growing as stolen passwords and data breaches are becoming a more and more common threat.
CIAM tools add an additional layer of security over your business network, making it harder for outsiders to steal critical information.
With this in mind, we created this CIAM software buyers guide to help you better understand how this software works, identify some common features to look for, and make the right choice for your organization.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What is customer identity and access management (CIAM) software?
CIAM solutions help companies securely manage and safeguard customer identities and access across business units.
The main purpose of CIAM software is to manage customer information and provide self-service customer registration, access management, single sign-on (SSO), and multifactor authentication (MFA) across digital channels, including mobile devices, the web, apps, etc.
Usually, CIAM software does three major things:
- Minimizes the risk of account takeover while improving customer login and customer registration experiences.
- Provides customized experiences such as customer access to a secure login portal with an authentication requirement.
- Offers scalable solutions to support a number of customers.
Multifactor authentication in Duo Security (Source)
Common features of CIAM software
||Control who can access accounts registered for multifactor authentication. Define user groups and access policies to enhance security.
|Multiple authentication methods
||Select from multiple authentication options such as using a universal 2nd factor (U2F) USB device, approving a push notification, entering an OTP, using biometrics, etc.
||Verify user access rights within systems to confirm each user has appropriate and authorized access to resources.
||Track and analyze user behavior within a system or network.
||Store usernames and passwords for multiple accounts in one place.
||Use multiple, independent data components from a user to verify identity before they can gain access to the system. Typically, this requires a user to both enter their password as well as an encrypted, randomly generated code created on demand.
||View and track pertinent metrics.
||Save time by enabling a self-service feature to add or change credentials, manage accounts, set up threat alerts, and more.
||Informational updates that are delivered to users as soon as an event occurs.
What type of buyer are you?
Most CIAM software buyers belong to one of the following categories:
- Law firms: These buyers include legal professionals that need to protect client identities and information. CIAM software can help firms avoid threats to their information infrastructure by requiring unique identification information to access data. These firms can leverage CIAM software's access management features to provide authorized access to clients and other stakeholders using security keys.
- Consumer businesses: When it comes to consumer businesses such as ecommerce platforms, data security is important for both customers and owners. With multiple authentication methods to gain access to a profile/account, CIAM software helps consumer-facing businesses give customers extra levels of protection.
- Corporate enterprises: Critical information and data is routinely accessed by partners, employees, and vendors from a multitude of locations and networks in the modern digital workspace. This brings a risk of security breaches, which CIAM software can help mitigate. Not only does it help verify user identity by gaining visibility into the devices that are accessing information, it also enforces adaptive policies to secure access by requiring certain user credentials.
Benefits of customer identity and access management (CIAM) software
- Reduced security breaches: CIAM software offers several security features such as risk-based authentication to secure customer details across the consumer lifecycle while supporting security policies. For example, each customer’s login patterns are tracked to identify any unusual activity. The tool offers multiple forms of identity authentication to help prevent security breaches.
- Improved access management: A CIAM solution that offers features such as a self-service portal and MFA helps stakeholders access the information they need, quickly.
- Improved user experience: Many companies have multiple web applications and portals, requiring users to authenticate their login multiple times when switching between applications. By integrating all digital channels and applications with a single CIAM solution, you can provide a more seamless user experience: one point of entry for all applications.
Key considerations when buying CIAM software
- Does the software allow social login? If you want to authenticate customer identity, look for a solution that allows users to create an account or sign in using existing social accounts on websites such as Facebook or Google. This can help you streamline the user experience with both registration and ongoing authentication.
- Does the solution support multifactor authentication? If you want to make sure your system is secure, look for CIAM tools with multifactor authentication that requires users to have both their password and access to a backup form of identification (such as a separate email address or phone number where an access code can be sent).
- Budget: Price is an important factor when talking about long-term investments, especially for small businesses. It's important to look at the pricing plans offered by software vendors to ensure you don't exceed your budget.
Note: The application shown in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as endorsements or recommendations. It was obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.