As more consumers demand great digital experiences, “It’s important to ensure that they enjoy a simple, seamless, and secure experience when logging into your app,” states Vice President & Head of Identity Access Management at WSO2 Geethika Cooray. There’s an exact science behind offering such an experience. It’s called Customer identity and access management (CIAM) and is a critical part of any digital experience.
However, developers often lack the expertise to incorporate it into their applications. Recognising this, WSO2 developed Asgardeo, which is a next-generation identity as a service (IDaaS) solution to make CIAM simple for any developer to integrate into their applications. This futuristic product by WSO2 Solutions combines traditional employee Identity Access Management (IAM) principles with consumer credential security to create a secure personalized digital experience.
For a better understanding of the underlying problems Asgardeo solves, Geethika Cooray shared his valuable thoughts on the essentialness of CIAM in the digital era we live in.
The Importance of CIAM in a Digital World
“Identity Access Management is old news and is already being used by most businesses to manage the details of their employees,” explains Geethika. Adding on, he explains that businesses then realized the potential benefits that would be brought about if a similar system was implemented for their customers. Thus, a new entity in the IAM space began raising its head on how companies securely organized their customer profiles, while also integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM), digital ads, and eCommerce to a single identity platform to create a unified user experience.
The greatest example of such a unified user experience in his view is Amazon and its grocery stores. Walking into the stores you can just pick up your groceries and then walk out without having to wait in line at a cashier. A suite of technologies is utilised to identify which items you picked to calculate your bill and then deduct it from a billing method listed on your Amazon account. Similarly, with a single Amazon profile, you can also purchase items from any one of its international digital storefronts.
Concepts like Single Sign On (SSO) functions, Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), and Social Login Integration are some instances of the global use of CIAM. It is part of a platform’s software architecture and its adoption is no longer a choice for businesses. “In the past, developers had to strike a balance between convenience and security. With the acceleration of the digital growth of ventures as a result of the pandemic, combining the two not only created a competitive advantage but has become a basic necessity,” Geethika shares. Despite this, he states that there is a lack of experts in the niche of IAM world-over which has made CIAM out of financial reach for startups and Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) with valid use cases.
Asgardeo: Improving Worldwide Accessibility to CIAM
According to Geethika, “WSO2 has been in the field of IAM since 2007, beginning with the launch of WSO2 Identity Server which now caters to over 250 of the biggest global companies in telco, healthcare, and education, as well as some high-end government agencies.” Meanwhile, Asgardeo was created by WSO2 to empower developers at startups and small businesses with prebuilt toolkits for CIAM integration in minutes without the need for costly expertise.
Asgardeo offers scalability, reliability, and agility for any developer. Moreover, the product comes in a free tier for anyone looking to get started until further investment is justified. In doing so, Asgardeo has brought CIAM and IDaaS capabilities to startups and SMBs. The team at WSO2 aims at creating a total identity platform through Asgardeo; giving organizations the option of choosing between on-premise, cloud-based, or hybrid platforms for CIAM.
Having been in a beta stage for nearly 9 months, the application is now witnessing new features being added every few weeks to bring it on par with the Identity Server. “The product is well past its beta phase and is now available for early adopters to try out. Budding enterprises can now try out Asgardeo’s agents and SDKs and provide their much-valued feedback for us to improve from.”
How organisations can get started with CIAM
For organisations of all sizes, Geethika emphasizes the importance of reaching out to experts on CIAM to avoid the dilemma of build vs buy. Through a holistic approach, the usability of Asgardeo with its predefined modules and low code implementation methods removes the hassle of writing and debugging strenuous code required for a CIAM system. These resources would be put to much better use focusing on the core product development of a business – saving costs and reducing their time to market.
With companies going digital, Geethika advises all entrepreneurs and developers to start thinking about CIAM for the benefit of their business. “Since CIAM is now mandatory, using a simple platform like Asgardeo is a sure way of future-proofing your solutions. For example, as social logins are used more commonly now, and Asgardeo will help you identify which social logins customers will be using most to create a more personalized experience for them”. With the product available for anyone, the team at WSO2 is willing to work with an increased number of startups, to try the product, and enhance its features to meet their collective needs. In addition to this, WSO2 encourages developers to reach out to them on their community page for any questions to help each other grow in this vastly growing digital world.