Ben GoodmanSep 27, 2022

Identity and access management enables secure access anytime, anywhere

With the pandemic accelerating the shift to digital across many sectors and cyberattacks rising to an all-time high, organizations have a greater need to deliver secure, seamless digital experiences to their end-users. The rapid digitalisation of government and citizen services further heightened the importance of secure digital identity.

In the past, companies used to create user accounts protected by digital firewalls. Yet the new reality of a remote and hybrid workforce means that identity and access management (IAM) solutions must be able to ensure secure access over home, office and other Wi-Fi networks, multiple personal devices and from across a variety of locations and endpoints.

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM), in turn, allows businesses to embed a secure identity layer into their customer and SaaS applications, facilitating secure, seamless end-user experiences across digital channels. 

CIAM sits at the intersection of security, customer experience and analytics. Providing an easy, frictionless way for users to onboard and log in is critical for driving conversions and building customer loyalty. 

CIAM can help organizations leverage their knowledge of the customer to build more relevant, higher-converting digital experiences. The right CIAM solution enables a complete, 360-degree view of customer profiles and preferences by consolidating and centralising user data across various sources including both internal and third-party systems. This unified view provides organisations with a better understanding of who their customers are and what they want, so that they can tailor their outreach and campaigns for a more effective marketing strategy.

Widespread Awareness and Adoption of CIAM in APAC

The recent State of CIAM in Asia-Pacific 2022 study commissioned by Okta revealed a high level of understanding of the issue across the region, with nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) saying they have a good or expert understanding of CIAM, and only a small minority (7%) admitting to not knowing anything about it at all. This awareness has also translated to widespread adoption of identity and access management solutions, with a large majority (82%) having already implemented them, whether built in-house or outsourced. Even among those that do not currently have a CIAM solution, nearly half (48%) are planning to deploy one in the next 12 to 18 months.

Security emerged as the top driver for CIAM adoption in the study, with nearly nine in 10 respondents (89%) saying this issue was very important or important to their overall security strategy, and just 3% saying it had no importance at all. Similarly, developers cited security as the top attribute (33%) when selecting a CIAM solution, followed by reliability (22%), ease of use (16%) and a good user experience (15%).

Decentralised Identity for Web 3.0 

In recent years, we have seen some Web 3.0 technologies take shape in the form of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, to name a few. The decentralised nature of Web 3.0 gives organisations the chance to adopt a similar approach in digital identity. 

Decentralised identity gives individuals control over which data they share with organisations, including the ability to revoke access to that information—whenever they want. This can be done by using digital wallets, which store identity and credential information from certified issuers such as governments and employers

Decentralised identity also makes it easier for people to access the e-government and essential services they need. The technology enables this by giving users encrypted identifiers, which can be verified by multiple service providers. In the real world, obtaining identity documents can be hindered by factors like bureaucracy or displacement. But by enabling an online, blockchain-based system, people easily can build their own digital identity, get essential services, and bridge the digital divide.

Effective Implementation

The State of CIAM in Asia-Pacific 2022 study revealed significant concerns about CIAM implementation and potential business risk if done poorly. Most respondents said the biggest barrier to implementation was the risk of adversely impacting the user experience (61%), with many struggling to get this right internally, followed by a lack of available in-house expertise (42%), and the need to create a business case to justify implementation (30%).

The challenges and complexities of CIAM continue beyond implementation, with businesses that choose to build these solutions in-house needing to upkeep their deployments to withstand evolving cyberattacks. Of those organisations that have a CIAM solution, 60% say their biggest barrier in managing it is the need to improve their security posture, while 57% are challenged by the high level of complexity.

In a world where in-house IT and security talent is scarce, keeping up with the fast-changing security landscape can be unsustainably stressful. Organisations should consider outsourcing customer identity management so that they can focus on the more strategic aspects of customer loyalty development, and business growth.

Ben Goodman is Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific and Japan, Okta

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