December 10, 2019 By Jason Keenaghan 3 min read

When we talk about identity and access management (IAM), too often the conversation comes down to an essential trade-off between customer experience and risk. How many hoops will customers jump through before they give up? How much are you willing to lose to fraud in exchange for increased adoption on your digital channel?

What if we stopped looking at customer experience and risk as diametrically opposed and started seeing them as a partnership? As it turns out, a focus on improving the customer experience can actually work to increase security, supercharging your IAM program for a hybrid multicloud world. Here are three strategies that can help build a frictionless, user-centric experience while lowering risk.

Make Your Authentication Smart With Adaptive Access

Authentication should be smarter. Your digital identity is more than just a name and a password. It is a complex network of instruments, from your name to the devices you use to the way you behave online. The more an organization can tap into deeper contextual insights, such as device IDs, behavioral biometrics and location data, the less need there is for knowledge-based authentication.

Smart authentication adapts. Static rules for authentication set the bar for verification too low or too high. Instead, consider an adaptive access strategy that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to build deep contextual insights. AI can be used to help build risk scores, determining the level of trust or risk associated with each user. When these AI capabilities are combined with an access policy engine, they allow the organization to base access on risk level. Low-risk users can be given a streamlined or even passwordless experience, while high-risk users can be challenged with multifactor authentication (MFA) or denied access.

Use Identity Analytics to Better Understand Access Risks

One of the most difficult aspects of identity and access management is understanding who has access to what applications and whether they have the “right” level of access. Too often, managers rubber-stamp access requests. Other times, users can bring access to certain apps from previous roles. This can turn into excess entitlements, and in some cases, create segmentation of duty violations. Many legacy IAM programs rely on periodic audits to clean up the mess of access risks, but that can result in problems that go undetected for long periods of time.

This is where an identity analytics solution can help. Organizations should look for identity analytics tools that provide a 360-degree view of access risks and the ability to recommend actions based on those risk insights.

Reimagine the Future of IAM With Decentralized Identity

Decentralized identity offers the promise of giving users ultimate control over their digital identity. Forward-leading organizations are exploring how they can get started with decentralized networks to solve a variety of use cases. Toolkits are available for developers to utilize that make it easy to establish and participate in decentralized identity networks that will revolutionize user privacy and security. Organizations can begin deploying proof-of-concept implementations that can make tomorrow’s dream of self-sovereign identity a reality today.

Identity and Access Management for a Hybrid Multicloud World

Security leaders are throwing out the notion of balance between user experience and risk as advances in IAM technology mean they can now build digital trust with their users seamlessly, behind the scenes — improving user experience while reducing risk. The more you know about the full context of the user, using AI to understand their devices and behaviors, the less you need to interrupt the user’s digital experience. Adaptive access, identity analytics and decentralized identity strategies can all help organizations modernize their identity and access management programs.

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