A hugely important topic in the tech world right now is CIAM – or customer identity and access management. Designed to remove barriers, enable a smooth and frictionless user-experience, enhance security and reduce organisational risk, CIAM is an essential piece of kit for any business. 

We were proud to recently host a webinar in conjunction with our key partner Okta, where we heard from Dan Cornwall, GM of Design at ClearPoint, and Marcus Guan, Partner Solutions Engineer APAC at Okta, on what CIAM is and the risks of not utilising a solution for your business. 

Here are 7 key lessons you can take away.

  1. Password reuse is one of the biggest challenges

For the last 30 to 40 years, we’ve been fighting an online security problem. Around 65% of the world’s online users have been logging into their accounts with the same and generally basic password. Over the years, the industry has gone to battle with users, creating stricter rules for passwords in an attempt to tighten up online security. Unfortunately, while humans are wonderful, unique creatures, we’re somewhat psychologically predictable – we often all opt to add an ! at the end of our existing password to get around these rules! Ultimately, even with common character substitutions, it doesn’t dramatically increase the time it would take for dedicated hackers to use automated tools to guess the most common passwords. 

The resulting situation? A war on user experience. It’s a hostile mindset between security developers and users, where the users are the enemy and compliance must be enforced through stricter lockouts or security policy. Users want to be secure. They want to feel safe, but they don’t want to remember a difficult string of letters for every website. 

 

  1. Passwords aren’t the future

Passwords can never be truly secure. They don’t work as they’re intended, and we have to move away from treating customers as the enemy and back to recognising the customer’s identity as seamlessly as possible. MFA, or multifactor authentication, is actually one of the first steps to making things better. If we can get your device to say that you’re ‘you’ through a timely confirmation, by facial recognition, thumbprint or other biometrics, it’s secure. Digital security and safety for our customers has never been more important, and it’s never been more under attack. Think of it as the grand entranceway to your digital products – start how you mean to continue, and first impressions matter. The goal should be making logging in the easiest digital experience you can offer. 

 

  1. Bad UX is hurting your brand

Logging in can be one of the highest friction interactions you can have with a company, and for many users who you want to be using your channels, it’s equivalent to having a room in your house that’s locked and you’ve lost the key. But if you don’t impose these rules? Then there’s a hack and user data gets taken, identities get stolen and your business gets blamed. It’s a lose, lose situation. 

One of the key factors for successful adoption of a web app or an online channel is a ‘good experience’, yet one of the most common UX insights we hear back from customers and research all the time is “Why don’t you know me?” Businesses just can’t do that effectively without good customer identity management, and a huge amount of time and effort invested into marketing to create and optimise a digital sales funnel. Customers shouldn’t have to wait days or weeks to feel loved – they should feel it from the moment they land on your website.

 

  1. Customer expectations are changing

As technology changes, so do users’ expectations. In a world where you go online and see recommendations or ads from thousands of brands every day, we anticipate that brands know what we’re interested in at any point in time. As a consumer, we don’t just expect digital experiences to be fast and seamless anymore – but we expect a platform to remember our credit card details from yesterday, our delivery address, all while knowing the transaction is secure. We all have different expectations in terms of security, speed, and user experience, and we want them to be catered for. 

But the reality is that legacy solutions don’t allow organisations to build that seamless digital experience everyone desires – which can leave your customers underwhelmed and frustrated with your business. In a post-Covid world, this has been enhanced even further with more businesses accelerating their online initiatives. There’s been huge pressure to keep up with the demand, and do it quickly too. You’ve no longer got the luxury of a 6-12 month timeline to build applications.

 

  1. Speed and agility is essential

The biggest challenge for so many organisations is the speed at which they can get these systems developed and in place. You can have the best developers, creating amazing applications, understanding how the customers behave – but authentication is just not their thing. They can spend 9 months developing cool applications, but they don’t want to have another six months trying to secure user identities. It’s a critical issue too – you don’t want to spend so much time on the experience, that you end up skimping on the most essential piece of the process.

The easiest way to mitigate this risk is by working with partners like Okta. You’re better to lean on trusted, experienced providers who have done this for thousands of companies, and can help your team focus on where their skills lie. This can also significantly increase the speed to market – from 6 months of developer time, to likely less than a month – just by utilising Okta as the identity platform. You’ll be at market parity faster, and you won’t start losing customers to your competitors.

Read more on what to look for when considering a CIAM solution and considering the Buy vs Build question. 

 

  1. Seamless customer experience is winning you business

Imagine you’re booking a staycation somewhere in New Zealand. You start googling hotels in Auckland, and end up on a well-known hotel booking platform. You’re a customer of theirs, so you log in and they remember your details from last time. You’ll type in the location and the dates you want to stay, and you’ll be served the hotel options. They immediately know what type of rooms you like or have stayed in in the past, which floor you prefer, and whether you’ve opted for the family friendly resort, or an adults only one. The process is so straightforward – they don’t bother with endless questions and options that can be overwhelming. If they do need information, it’s done progressively, keeping you engaged and interested. Before you know it, you’ve booked a hotel with your saved credit card – no repetitive entering of information, a seamless and easy experience.

This is the kind of experience that users want these days. If you don’t have it, it’s easy to see how your organisation could be losing customers to those that have it sorted.

 

  1. Progressive customer profiling is the future

It’s not just about the user experience. CIAM also helps bring together multiple departments in your organisation and helps them communicate with customers more effectively. When you know who your customers are, you can serve them tailored marketing messages that speak to their journey or pain points. When your BDM is making cold calls, they know what they last purchased with you, or which email they opened and clicked on. Okta can trigger new user sign ups to drive more actions within your business, giving you a clearer, more holistic overview of your customer journey. Progressive customer profiling is the future, and can help your customers feel secure and confident in your business. You remember their information, they feel you actually know them, and that builds trust in the long run.

 

Ultimately, implementing a CIAM solution doesn’t just get you the software: it gets you seamless login systems, happy customers and increased revenue, as well as experienced, trusted advisors who will navigate any changes alongside you. It also means the responsibility for updates to keep everyone secure and safe are not on you, allowing you to focus on growing your core business.

Watch each speakers full presentation below:

 

Want to provide a seamless digital experience for your customers and colleagues? Talk to our team about selecting the best solution provider for your business and gain insight into ForgeRock and Okta as CIAM solutions.

For a deeper, more comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about CIAM, check out the free download from ClearPoint partner Okta here.