In the last few years, Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) has become the fastest-growing specialty within Identity and Access Management. Consumer IAM systems provision, authenticate, authorize, collect and store identity and other information about consumers from many sources. Businesses and public-sector organizations are finding that they must provide better digital experiences for and gather more information about the rapidly growing share of their customers who are using their services on-line. There are challenges: customer identities may be orders of magnitude more numerous than the employee identities enterprises have been managing. The on-line experience for customers must be simple and convenient. At the same time, compliance with new and demanding anti-fraud and privacy regulations is required. New opportunities are also created by CIAM: many enterprises plan to use the stream of rich customer data being collected in these systems for marketing analyses.
Common features of Consumer IAM solutions include:
- Self-registration for customers, usually via social network registration
- Customer profile storage
- Consent mechanisms for users to control the use of their data
- Single Sign-On (SSO) across all digital properties of the deploying enterprise
- Multiple authentications options for customers, depending on risks and policies
- Built-in risk-assessment engine, using the CIAM data and/or third-party risk intelligence
- SaaS application integration
- Multiple deployment options on-premises or in the Cloud
- Some CIAM providers also offer additional features:
- Integration with IoT devices linked to customer identities
- Fine-grained access control to resources and data
- Marketing analytics based on customer data, built-in or via interface to 3rd party products
- White-labeling with the client enterprise’s brand
- Software-development kits (SDKs) for integration of Web and mobile apps with the CIAM infrastructure
- CIAM as a multi-tenant service operated by the vendor
CIAM requirements are quite different from those that shaped traditional IAM products. The rapid growth of the consumer market has created an opportunity for new competitors like NRI Secure that offer products designed specifically for consumer identity requirements to compete effectively with established IAM vendors that are extending their products to the consumer space.
NRI Secure Technologies was founded in 2000 as a subsidiary of Nomura Research Institute ($4.25B revenue.) With headquarters in Tokyo, NRI Secure provides security consulting, cyber defense (pentesting) and products. Uni-ID is their consumer facing IAM (CIAM) product, first developed in 2008 and rebranded and relaunched as Uni-ID Libra in mid-2017.
NRI Secure claims 20-plus large Japanese clients with about 100 million consumer identities served by Uni-ID Libra. In the near term the company is focused on medium to very large enterprises in Japan with 100,000 and up consumer customers. Sectors served include financial, media, telecom, retail and government.
Uni-ID Libra is positioned as emphasizing security, user experience and flexible implementation to accommodate multiple use-cases. The security emphasis, including support for risk-adaptive authentication, leverages NRI Secure’s security-focused core products and services like threat intelligence and managed security services. On the other hand, the company has no special advantages in CRM or marketing analytics and does not plan to compete with CIAM vendors in those areas; nor does it plan to expand Uni-ID to compete with full-stack IAM vendors. Although Japanese regulations on privacy and anti-fraud/anti-money-laundering are not as strict as in the EU or even the US, NRI Secure realizes that large multinational clients—even Japanese companies—will need features in their CIAM systems that support compliance with GDPR and KYC requirements. Those are being developed even ahead of strong demand from current customers.