Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) focuses on managing a customer’s or citizen’s identity and their access to various systems within an organisation. When compared to regular Identity and Access Management, CIAM differs in that it focuses specifically on external users’ access, for instance external stakeholders, the public, or a partner who is working with the organisation.

CIAM is of critical importance when it comes to Government agencies or organisations that have specific compliance, governance and regulation policies to adhere to, but is equally important for any business looking to adequately secure information and services.

As with IAM, CIAM is all about providing the right access at the right time to the right users. It’s about controlling access and building a Trust Framework. At UNIFY, we build this robust system of trust so external and internal customers can access and share resources as required.

Establishing a Trust Framework and working with Microsoft

We work using best practices and proven methods, and with powerful technology partners such as Microsoft. Our Trust Framework sits across all of our major offerings, especially UNIFYAdvantage™, our cloud and digital transformation services offering. Within UNIFYAdvantage, we have UNIFYTrust™ - the policy framework for trusted identities, UNIFYRapid™ - the deployment framework for DevOps, UNIFYMonitor™ - monitoring capabilities for business analytics, and UNIFYOperate™ - the operational managed service offering.

Over years of working directly with customers from a wide range of industries and with a wide range of needs, we’ve developed and extended our offerings to ensure we’re able to strike the balance between access and security, and to ensure that what’s promised is what’s delivered. We have a strong team internally, with rich experience in the Identity and Access Management space and a deep understanding of how to manage internal and external identities.

Microsoft is a key partnership for us. Microsoft’s solutions are flexible to a customer’s requirements and can be established effectively and efficiently. Their platform is also very scalable and available 24/7 with very low downtime. In fact, most of their service level agreements (SLAs) are at 99.9% uptime. In this way, trust is established not only in what the company has set up to enable identity access, but also with the systems and technology itself.

At present my Practice continues to provide packaged offerings with Microsoft Azure AD, which is a cloud-based offering serving Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Customer (B2C), and is built on the foundation of the company’s Trust Framework. As part of this we are providing 24/7 support services and managed services.

Our expertise comes through when we take a closer look at our relationship with our customers. Find out more about this here.

The future of identity: the move to decentralisation

Understanding and securing the identity and data of each individual is crucial – whether this is a consumer accessing a business service, or a business collaborating with external partners. Data governance will only become more important as privacy expectations increase and businesses take on new devices and services to enable operations.

More long term, I see us moving from centralised to decentralised identities. A good way to understand having a decentralised identity is to think about how you use your passport. You provide information to a secure and globally recognised body, for example passport issued by your resident country, which is an accepted proof of identity when entering other countries.

In the same way, in the future, instead of accessing each service with a unique identity, we’ll have ‘One Identity’ to access any service, and we will retain the rights and security of it. It might be a device we carry with us or our smartphone. As a result, we no longer have our personal information in many different places and instead have a single source of truth. Today, research and prototyping tests are being run around the world, but it could be just a matter of time until this is our daily reality.

What’s next for UNIFY and CIAM: expanding operations

Through FY21 in the Customer Identity and Access Management space, we’re focusing on social and financial inclusion across a range of verticals, especially education and health which are so affected by COVID-19, building on our trusted identity frameworks and enabling digital transformation initiatives which can be streamlined and scaled to the entire digital landscape. Much of our work so far in CIAM has been focused on Government agencies, but we are also working on large programmes in the finance and other sectors.

Thanks to increasing demand for MSP and CIAM services, and due to our strong partnerships with principals such as Microsoft, my vision is to expand the CIAM Practice by building on our initial Tier 1 customers in other geographies such as South East Asia and USA, and working closely with Microsoft on digital transformation programmes in these regions.

If you’d like to know more or to talk to us about any aspect of our CIAM offerings, fill out the form below.

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