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Tuesday, 07 September 2021 19:46

Removing friction from the workplace with a CIAM strategy

By Ashley Diffey, Head of APAC and Japan at Ping Identity.
Ashley Diffey, Head of APAC and Japan, Ping Identity Ashley Diffey, Head of APAC and Japan, Ping Identity

GUEST OPINION by Ashley Diffey, Head of APAC and Japan at Ping Identity: In an increasingly digital and online world, consumers have come to expect relatively frictionless experiences when undertaking transactions.

They want retail sites to remember them between visits and identity details to be required just once when completing online transactions. Anything more can lead to frustration and a switch to a competitor.

This expectation of a frictionless experience is now becoming more prevalent in the workplace. Staff have an expectation that they won’t have to log in multiple times to multiple systems. Instead, they want to be able to log in once and gain all the access they require.

To achieve this, organisations need to treat their staff more like customers. In doing this, they can then adopt a strategy of Customer Identity Access Management (CIAM). In the workplace, CIAM is all about streamlining and enhancing the process of identity authentication. 

This strategy involves the use of tools that provide dynamic authorisation and continuous authentication of individuals throughout the working day. This is achieved through the use of technologies such as biometrics which can reduce friction by removing the need for passwords.

As well as reducing friction, lowering or removing the need for staff to constantly enter passwords can lead to an increase in productivity and a reduction in frustration levels. For this to work, it requires an organisation to create a unique digital profile for each employee which then becomes an integral part of the identification and authorisation process.

Digital IDs versus passwords

It should be remembered, however, that digital identities are not accounts and passwords. They are a rich, digital representation of each physical staff member. The richer these digital identities can be, the more certain an organisation can be that a person is who they say they are.

Having such identities in place is particularly important at the moment when many organisations have large numbers of staff working remotely. Firmly outside the traditional secure boundary of the corporate network, they need to be identified and authorised to access the applications and data they need to complete their roles.

Another factor pushing organisations to adopt a CIAM strategy is the increasing use of cloud-based resources. Without an effective digital ID platform in place, staff are likely to be forced to log into each cloud service they wish to use.

Through CIAM, staff can be provided with access to all the cloud services through a single ‘pane of glass’. This greatly streamlines the means of access and takes the friction out of using multiple cloud services and resources.

A well-architected CIAM strategy can also assist organisations when they are operating in highly regulated areas such as healthcare and finance. Here, privacy and data protection requirements mean that access must be limited only to those staff who have the required authority.

Simplicity is key

The key to having an effective CIAM strategy in the workplace is to ensure that the steps staff need to take are as simple and straightforward as possible. In most cases, this will be best achieved through the use of two-factor or multi-factor authentication.

This could take the form of a password or code plus some biometric data such as a fingerprint or face scan. In other cases, it might require the use of an authenticator app on a smartphone that generated unique codes that can be linked to that person.

It is well worth carefully reviewing the options that exist and determining which will be the best fit for your particular circumstances. This will ensure that the resulting platform will deliver the required levels of security while also being as user-friendly as possible.

Treating staff in the same way as customers brings significant benefits to an organisation and ensures that critical applications and data remain safe at all times.


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