Identity and access management (IAM) has been an integral part of IT since the early days of computing. Foundational to the security of IT resources is the need to identify who may access them, and placing limits on what they can do with them. Since these requirements were principally established to support internal business processes, IAM practices and technologies evolved to specifically support business employees. Following the introduction of the internet, however, new security challenges evolved in support of ecommerce. Rather than having to support a limited number of employees, businesses now must ensure the secure delivery of digital engagements with an expansive range of customers and marketing prospects. These challenges greatly accelerated over the last two decades due to the rise in popularity of consumer-focused cloud services and increasing user mobility.
One-half of one second—that is how brief of a time-span it seemingly can take for a business to lose a customer. Gaining and retaining consumer attention is something of a nuanced art form and science that can be completely undone by an easily misplaced word or a cumbersome process. Businesses frequently lose customers not because they have an inferior product or service but simply because, for some reason, the customers had a brief negative experience. While it is impossible to control what customers are thinking and feeling at any given time, it is clear that many of these negative impressions are self-inflicted by businesses that fail to create welcoming environments. Unfortunately, many organizations find it difficult to adopt CIAM approaches that enable favorable consumer experiences without violating security requirements. After all, the primary purpose of CIAM is to protect a business’s intellectual property, secure private customer information, and prevent account misuse or fraud.
When regional stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were first issued in early 2020, the general expectation was that societal changes would only be temporary. As people hunkered down in homes around the world, they expressed a collective confidence that life would eventually (perhaps after only a few weeks) return to normal. Over time, the realization that the pandemic has, in many ways, changed the world forever has slowly been gaining acceptance. Of course, it seems likely that at some point medical science will discover the means to control and perhaps even eradicate the illness, and eventually people will feel free to emerge from their homes. However, many of the fundamental changes to day-to-day activities and lifestyles that have been adopted are likely to persist well into the future.