The Future of Customer Identity: 4 CIAM Trends to Watch Out For

Technology moves fast. You know better than anyone that the solutions that were implemented a year ago won’t necessarily work today, and that customers continuously expect more refined standards of service. To lead the pack, you need to provide customers with the right balance of usability and security—seamless, intuitive digital experiences that people can also trust to keep their data private and safe. 

For many organizations, this requires a shift in architecture, and a robust customer identity and access management (CIAM) solution. With this in mind, we’ve identified four trends that are defining the future of customer identity. From driving engagement to managing complexity, we’ll discuss each trend in detail and suggest what you can do to stay on the cutting edge.

Trend #1: Drive customer engagement

If your organization is customer-facing, you likely feel the constant pressure to innovate. Today, one particularly important thing to focus on is how customers interact with your brand. After all, engaging experiences that help you stand out in the market are vital for establishing loyal customer relationships that endure and grow over time.

Data is the best way to understand what customers want, but you have to collect it with care. Asking for too much information too soon, like in the sign-up process, can create a choke point where customers abandon your app or service. Too late, however, and you’ll miss out on opportunities to tailor customer experiences and communications. Time your prompts right with progressive profiling, and you’ll get the information you need to create messaging and offers that keep people coming back.

If you’re looking to drive customer engagement, there are a few Okta solutions to consider. Our progressive profiling and social login support, for instance, can help you quickly build relationships and collect customer data in ways that feel natural and intuitive to the user experience. Meanwhile, our Devices SDK and API can assist you in creating consistent brand experiences and customizable authentication procedures across every channel and touchpoint.

Trend #2: Deliver better security outcomes

Security is paramount to your business and customers, but for security measures to really succeed, they also have to contribute positively to engagement. Unfortunately, many organizations think deploying multi-factor authentication (MFA) and enforcing the most stringent policies at all times is a proper solution—but this will only drive your customers away in search of apps that are easier to use.

A better approach is to apply flexible policies, keep things simple by default, and ramp up protective measures only when the time is right. If you have multiple apps and services, you might consider implementing different access policies depending on how sensitive the data and resources are for each one. For example, many customers expect additional layers of security when making large transactions online. If they’re purchasing a $10,000 watch, an MFA prompt can help to build trust. Checking the status of an order, on the other hand, shouldn’t necessarily require this step.

For flexible, time-sensitive security, Okta’s system supports contextual access management, which assigns a risk level to the behavioral factors associated with each login attempt—such as the customer’s device, location, IP address, or time of sign in. Contextual access management analyzes these factors before granting access or prompting the customer for further proof of identity, providing smart customer protections that don’t impede the user experience. 

Trend #3: Safeguard user privacy

Data privacy is a cornerstone of customer trust. High-profile misuse cases have seriously damaged the public perception of online advertising and social media platforms, and the regulatory landscape is fast catching up to companies who collect, store, and share data. 

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in effect—and new global legislation in development—upholding customers’ data rights is non-negotiable. Now more than ever, customers want to see that their data is in safe hands, with a company that takes care to honor their compliance requirements.

To handle data the right way, there are three key areas where organizations need to excel:

  • Consent management: collection, processing, and storage of customer consent
  • Privacy management: data sharing across downstream applications
  • Compliance management: data mapping and deletion

Okta’s rich set of APIs for user management can be leveraged for each of the above. We’re also building out-of-the-box capabilities that prompt for custom terms and conditions during registration and retain customers’ consent along with policy information. After capturing this consent, Okta can even send the data to a dedicated privacy solution (e.g., OneTrust or Datagrail) that orchestrates a workflow when a customer requests visibility into what data you have about them.

Trend #4: Manage complexity

Does your technology structure run in a particularly complicated fashion? You’re not alone. Many organizations operate multiple apps and identity stores, spread across sources like enterprise identity providers and social login solutions. They also have to manage different development environments so that various stakeholders can interact with the customer identity system. 

Your responsibilities will only grow alongside your company, as different business units, app development teams, and M&A processes enter the mix. Overworked teams don’t perform at their best, so it’s a big help to simplify structures and eliminate any complexities.

Okta’s Universal Directory provides a central hub for you to manage all users, groups, and devices, letting you accessibly store user data and create group permissions based on attributes for ease of configuration. We’re currently investing further in our platform so organizations can refine how they manage multiple Okta orgs for different customers, business units, and software development lifecycles. We’re also adding greater delegated admin capabilities so you can provide all the teams in your organization with the right level of access.

Customer expectations will continue to evolve as time goes on, and building your capabilities around these key trends will help you create engaging, trustworthy experiences that attract and retain a loyal customer base into the future.

Read our whitepaper to learn more about the future of customer identity, or get in touch to see what our CIAM platform can do for your business.