Cyberattacks are a very real concern for 21st-century business owners — and the targets aren’t just high-profile Fortune 500 companies.
In 2021, 42% of small businesses experienced a cyber attack. This led nearly 7 in 10 business leaders to express concerns about future attacks.
Whether it’s a web-based attack, botnets, phishing, or any other form of digital crime, businesses are facing serious threats at the moment. Those who want to move forward with confidence and security must consider additional layers of protection beyond traditional things like passwords and usernames. They need to prioritize CIAM.
What Is CIAM?
CIAM stands for “customer identity and access management.” It consists of a single program, platform, or system that brings all of your sensitive customer data into a safe and secure digital location.
Identity provider Okta describes this unique solution as a “toolkit” that brings several important data sets together. This includes things like sign-in and account data, first-party tracking and website data, and CRM and purchase record information.
The goal with a CIAM system is to bring any and every set of sensitive customer data you possess as a company into a safe space where you can protect it (and both you and your customers can edit it) with elite, up-to-date safety measures in place.
Three Benefits of CIAM
CIAM solutions provide a variety of benefits for businesses and customers alike. Here are a few of the most worthwhile advantages to consider.
1. CIAM Sytems Unify Scattered Data
According to research from ZoomInfo, the average company uses around 75 distinctly different technologies within their business. For larger enterprises, that number can easily sneak up above the 200 mark.
Suffice it to say business leaders and employees alike are managing a huge number of programs and their associated data. In many cases, you can leave the information within a program where it is (e.g., you don’t need your accounting details imported to your marketing team on most occasions.)
When it comes to important customer data, though, the size of most company tech stacks can lead to a dangerous decentralization of sensitive information. A CIAM brings all of this important customer data into a single, safe place. This is where you can access and edit it without fear of the data being leaked or stolen.
2. CIAM Systems Cultivate Customer Trust and Loyalty
Modern customers are navigating a digital business landscape. This can feel like an online iteration of the Wild West at times. They’re asked to input important information like a credit card or Social Security number. Then asked to trust that the entity they’re delivering their information to is actually who they say they are.
Even if a business is genuine, customers are still left hoping that they’ll invest an adequate amount of effort into protecting their information from a potential security breach after a transaction. The level of security required is difficult to gauge since cybersecurity requirements vary from one interaction to the next.
For example, 95% of business cybersecurity breaches recorded in 2016 came in three specific industries: government, retail, and technology. The alarming number of incidents in these three sectors isn’t due to a lack of care or protection on the part of the businesses themselves. It’s because those areas of activity involve a lot of personal identifying information. In other words, companies in those spaces have a natural obligation to be extra careful with customer data.
Regardless of the degree of security required, when a business prioritizes CIAM solutions, they send the signal to their customers that they’re prioritizing the protection of their information. This builds customer trust and even doubles as a marketing tool. It sends the message that consumers can operate within their digital businesses with relative safety.
3. CIAM Systems Are Consistent Yet Adaptable
One of the ongoing issues with cybercrime is that online criminals adapt to change. This puts it on businesses to stay ahead of these digital adversaries. They do this by improving their cybersecurity at a steady rate that doesn’t allow cybercriminals to catch up.
CIAM is an ideal solution for this ongoing need for adaptability. As security-first tools, they are always focused on staying up-to-date and aware of current threats.
In addition, CIAM tools are designed to scale with an enterprise. This removes the fear that the growth of incoming sensitive data will become too much for a company to manage properly.
Maintaining a degree of adaptability this high can often lead to changes that make a tool both inconsistent and difficult to use. However, prioritizing a quality CIAM solution can adapt to ongoing cybersecurity needs while remaining a consistent, consolidated, and easy-to-use product. (I.e., the user experience doesn’t change, even if the security measures behind the scenes do.)
Making the Choice to Embrace CIAM
From ease of use to consolidated safety, adaptability to customer trust and loyalty, many benefits come from implementing a CIAM solution.
The deciding factor isn’t for business leaders to understand the concept of customer identity and access management, though. It’s when they choose to prioritize CIAM that these benefits truly begin to materialize.
So, assess the current degree of consolidation and safety of your sensitive customer data within your business. If security measures are lacking, choose to invest time, effort, and resources into setting up a CIAM solution that will help your business and its customers safely thrive in the year ahead.