In the last few years, identity has become a familiar concept to business decision-makers seeking to fortify their security, unlock efficiency gains, and outpace competitors.
Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is a set of solutions built to help organizations balance convenience, privacy, and security for every type of user who needs access to their platform. At Auth0, we’ve heard from our customers that investing in third-party CIAM solutions can benefit the entire organization, especially by:
- Providing a seamless, secure customer experience
- Protecting against expensive data breaches
- Guiding compliance with data privacy laws
- Gathering customer data into a single source of truth
- Increasing the success of digital transformation projects
Another major advantage to CIAM is that centralizing customer identity helps you build more scalable solutions — and scalability is both a benefit of and a requirement for the advantages listed above. Simply put, CIAM gives you the tools you need to scale identity quickly.
The Business Value of Scalability
Scalability refers to a system’s ability to increase its capacity and functionality based on the evolving demands of its users. Your industry may be volatile, but scalable software allows your platform to remain stable in the face of infrastructure changes, updates, overhauls, and resource reductions/additions.
Laggard legacy systems are inflexible and resource-intensive to maintain, which for many companies is reason enough to prioritize digital transformation. Critically, legacy systems also fall short of modern scaling demand and user expectations.
In contrast, building scalable solutions helps your organization increase predictability; trim maintenance and upgrade costs; and become more agile, so you can meet customers’ dynamic demands.
Scalable software also shortens time-to-value. Your teams will bring products to market more quickly and deliver more value to your customers if they don’t have to worry about scaling your identity solution.
Scalable software systems increase reliability, so you can avoid outages and maintain continuous uptime. The ability to provide a smooth, consistent customer experience even in the face of demand spikes is a key competitive advantage enabled by CIAM. When circumstances like a major news broadcast or a big sporting event cause your platform to be flooded with requests, you don’t want to experience lags or outages. The bottom line: Lack of scalability leads to reduced reliability, which can drive users to another service.
Protect against data breaches
A scalable identity solution helps protect customer data from breaches and exposures that can occur as your organization scales. A 2020 IBM-Ponemon study found that data breaches cost an average of $3.86 million per incident globally, with the number rising to $8.64 million on average in the United States. Breach-related costs include actual fines and reputation erosion that can lead to customers shifting to competing brands.
"With CIAM, you can offer your customers the convenience of rapid authentication without introducing security vulnerabilities that make you more susceptible to a data breach."
Be ready for mergers and acquisitions
If you want to enhance your appeal as an acquisition target, or if you’re evaluating other companies to acquire, a solid CIAM strategy is critical. Implementing CIAM before a merger or acquisition can prevent you from spending months integrating applications struggling to reconcile a high volume of user data, exposing security vulnerabilities, or introducing friction that drives customers away.
CIAM goes a long way toward minimizing the disruption of M&A activity: before, during, and after integration. Managing post-M&A integration in-house is a difficult, time-consuming job that keeps your developers from devoting their full attention to your core solutions — which is more important than ever when you need to mitigate churn. As Auth0 customer Cimpress discovered, the right approach to customer identity management allows you to connect companies with divergent systems to your platform quickly and easily.
How Does CIAM Enable Scalable Identity?
Identity touches every function of your business. Typically, organizations have to manage identity for different types of users: customers, employees, and enterprise partners. Each user type has different requirements for your platform depending on how they use it. CIAM not only helps you provide the right balance of convenience, privacy, and security to each type of user; it also gives you superior insight and a single source of truth to drive better strategic decision-making.
Give customers the frictionless experience they want
When a seamless customer experience is your first priority, scalability is an absolute requirement. And with customer-facing applications, ease of experience is everything. If your CIAM solution doesn’t scale, your users will abandon you for another service.
As a customer, you’ve probably experienced this impatience. If you’re trying to order dinner and your first-choice food delivery platform is overwhelmed and experiencing lags, you’ll switch over to another platform — and that platform might be your first choice from then on.
CIAM also allows companies to unify their login experience across apps, creating a consistent experience that benefits both user and brand. UK-based conditioning company Gymshark, an Auth0 customer, is a great example of how CIAM enables an exceptionally smooth, secure login experience across platforms. Gymshark needed a universal login solution that could authenticate customers across 15 different online stores and mobile apps. With Auth0, they’re able to manage access for 250,000 monthly users while securing their platform against credential stuffing attacks and other threats to the login box.
Cultivate customer trust with strong security
Your customers trust you to keep their personal information private; to be transparent and responsible with how you collect, store, and use their data; and to comply with regulations designed to protect customer privacy. CIAM enables you to uphold this trust as your solution scales, and your integration ecosystem expands.
Data privacy laws like GDPR, CPRA, and APPI require companies to understand how third-party providers manage the collection, use, and storage of data in their systems. CIAM solutions help guide compliance with these regulations, so you don’t lose sleep over non-compliance fines or expensive data breaches.
Implementing CIAM shows customers that you are literally invested in ensuring their privacy and security. Similarly, essential certifications like HIPAA, CSA STAR, and ISO 27001/27018 also signify to customers and regulators that you’re not just claiming a strong security posture; you’re undergoing regular, rigorous security checks by an expert third party.
Accelerate time-to-market and solve for future problems
Implementing CIAM lets your developers focus on supporting your core solutions instead of also having to manage identity in-house. As a result, you’ll bring products to market faster and deliver more value to your customers.
At Auth0, we recommend that companies make decisions around CIAM based not on where their business is, but on where they want it to be. You need identity management capable of scaling to meet future business needs, not just the pain points you encounter today. Where do you want your business to be in five years? How will that drive your scalability needs? Think strategically about your desired future state. If you get overly focused on the pain points you’re encountering right now; you may be inviting incompatibility and tech debt into your business infrastructure.
Manage Identity Complexity with CIAM
Since identity touches every aspect of your business, the functionality and scalability of your identity solution will tend to match the functionality and scalability of your organization as a whole. With CIAM, you can deliver the secure, frictionless experience your customers expect as you scale and integrate your ecosystem. That’s why many of our customers have opted to manage the complexity of identity with CIAM.
To learn more about how CIAM can help you reach your milestones, get in touch with the experts at Auth0.
Auth0 by Okta takes a modern approach to customer identity and enables organizations to provide secure access to any application, for any user. Auth0 is a highly customizable platform that is as simple as development teams want, and as flexible as they need. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 delivers convenience, privacy, and security so customers can focus on innovation. For more information, visit https://auth0.com.