The recent constraints on physical businesses have pushed organizations to accelerate plans to move operations to the digital world, often shrinking timelines from years to months. Within this context, the dependence on online commerce has increased significantly, and new sales models are blossoming. Global e-commerce sales are expected to top USD 4.2 trillion in 2020 and reach more than USD 6.5 trillion by 2023, explained in an article by e-commerce giant Shopify. Companies across all sectors—such as those in banking, retail, healthcare, public, education, transportation and logistics, energy and utilities, and manufacturing—are increasingly leveraging the Internet to provide necessary products and services to consumers.

However, as organizations pivot to digital infrastructures, they increasingly face challenges and tension as the need to ensure customer trust and privacy pull against the importance of providing exceptional user experiences across all touchpoints. A strong security and CIAM strategy will be essential to address these needs and ensure that information remains protected against outside threats.

Today, identity has become the glue for all contextual marketing. The main objective of CIAM is to drive revenue growth by leveraging identity data to acquire and retain consumers. It helps to build an identity-centric ecosystem to nurture an anonymous website visitor into a well-known, loyal customer. The CIAM market is unsaturated and growing, and according to Markets and Markets, it is projected to expand from USD 7.6 billion in 2020 to USD 15.3 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 15.1%.

The future of business has changed drastically due to the rapid advancement of the remote work era from the pandemic. Here are three key CIAM market trends that security professionals should be aware of as they finalize their 2021 plans.


Growing adoption of digital strategies drives demand for CIAM

COVID-19 has pushed a wide range of businesses that were not previously digitally driven, such as grocery stores and restaurants, to offer goods and services online. Such businesses are now forced to adopt digital strategies to survive and thrive. However, this also opens up entirely new opportunities. Where these businesses once largely maintained transactional relationships with customers, they can now start to use knowledge about consumer identities to build customer profiles, new partnerships, and new services that drive longer-term and higher-value relationships for the business and the customer alike. This imperative will drive demand for high-performance, cost-effective CIAM solutions as businesses seek to focus on their core strengths rather than developing proprietary systems on their own.


Providing customers control over their data is key

The pandemic ushered in growing demand for giving consumers control over the information they want access to or shared, most notably regulations around open healthcare. This puts ‘identity’ front and center. Businesses must know who’s who, and who can have access to what in the digital world. At the same time, it’s critical to offer an effortless and seamless experience that minimizes any barriers to consumers interacting online. 

Maintaining this delicate balance leads to another vital requirement: self-service. Customers should be able to update and review their privacy preferences, such as using different emails for different activities, changing associated profile information, and updating contact information. At the same time, users should be able to adjust their security profiles by configuring recovery mechanisms and registering trusted devices for login. With the advancement of privacy regulations across the world, modern businesses must also give users data portability and the ability to deregister. CIAM solutions help to give consumers control over their data and keep it safe while creating positive user experiences and customer insights that help businesses increase revenue and growth.


Keeping data private is a necessity

Privacy will no longer be a luxury but a necessity, and businesses will need to secure consumer data more so than ever before as failure to do so will impact a company’s reputation, stock, and sale price. With regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect—and various other privacy laws making their way through legislatures—allowing users to control their data and safeguarding privacy has become vital.

Customers now expect businesses to reveal what information they gather, delete data if requested, and explicitly ask for consent to save and share data. As developer-friendly CIAM platforms continue to evolve in 2021 (e.g., to further support areas like artificial intelligence, automation, and advanced authentication), so must the adoption of these platforms by businesses to ensure that customers are protected at all times.

In the past, businesses have been faced with an unenviable decision: either build a custom identity solution from scratch, which can be time-consuming and leave gaps in security, or purchase a pre-defined offering that compromises the user experience. However, faced with uncompromising data regulations and growing consumer expectations, businesses need to go beyond traditional identity and access management (IAM) solutions to combine the best of both worlds. Moreover, they require customizable, secure, and scalable products if they are to effectively build agile and extensible CIAM solutions to delight their customers.

The technologies, capabilities, and solutions needed to benefit from the trends presented above are crucial in assisting organizations to differentiate. However, they must also sit on top of a reliable and flexible identity platform that meets the variety of use cases a company will have today and ensure it is future-proof for tomorrow. These factors will have a profound impact on how businesses build, manage, and maintain relationships in 2021 and in the years to come.