Is your company using traditional, employee-facing Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions to manage customer identity? If so, your approach could be cumbersome, unscalable, and worst of all, it could cost you customers, according to new research from noted research and analysis firm Forrester.
Last month, Forrester Research released its first report on the new Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) market landscape.
The report, co-authored by leading identity management experts Andras Cser and Merritt Maxim posits that the “unique requirements” of consumer identity, “especially scale, performance, usability, and support for seamless multichannel interactions,” have necessitated the development of CIAM as its own market segment distinct from traditional solutions for employee IAM.
But what is CIAM? And do we really need a new Identity market segment?
Though superficially similar to traditional IAM, there are a few differentiators that Forrester argues demonstrate a clear need for Customer-specific IAM solutions.
Primarily, CIAM cannot be a cumbersome experience.
Unlike employee IAM, in the CIAM space, customers have a choice whether or not to participate in the identity management process. Think about it, your employees are essential forced to deal with an IAM solution, no matter how cumbersome, in order to get their job done. Consumers, on the other hand, may abandon the process if they find it too complex and time-consuming. I’ve personally done this countless times.
Because a customer has complete control over their identity, a strong CIAM solutions needs to request information in exchange for value in a way that provides the customer with a seamless, unobtrusive, and yet secure experience.
Another key differentiation is scalability—unlike traditional IAM, customer focused solutions need to be able to scale dramatically to handle increased traffic. A traditional IAM solution may be able to support thousands of employees, but will unlikely be able to scale to meet the elastic demands of a customer-facing website.
CIAM is an essential, make-or-break ingredient to the customer experience, says Forrester. One that, if treated correctly, can help enterprises achieve the proper balance of customer experience and security while providing a unified view of the customer, and assuaging their security concerns.
Forrester’s report gives an overview of the market, examines seven vendors, and offers security and risk professionals best practices for implementations.
Click here to download a full-length complementary copy of the 17-page report.
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