Thales Blog

Does the future of CIAM rely on identity fabrics or an identity suite?

May 22, 2022

Maarten Stuljens Maarten Stultjens | VP Global Enablement IAM More About This Author >

Organizations are forced to fully embrace digital transformation if they want to achieve a sleek customer experience and retain their competitive advantage. The role of digital identities and their management is crucial in this effort and underpins many aspects of enterprises’ digital transformation.

However, enterprises are still struggling to find the most suitable solution that will mitigate digital identity challenges, such as integrating and connecting identities seamlessly across all organizational services while upholding security and control, – and will lead to a successful CIAM. What strategy are then companies ought to adopt?  According to identity experts the answer lies in value creation services that are either based on identity fabrics or an identity suite stack. Let’s dive into that.

Identity fabrics and identity suite

KuppingerCole Analysts define identity fabrics as ‘‘a paradigm of a comprehensive set of identity services that deliver the capabilities required for providing seamless and controlled access for everyone to every service [1].’’ Identity fabrics support different types of online identities such as consumers, partners, or employees, offering a full spectrum of identity services. Identity fabrics do not constitute a single technology or cloud service but a paradigm for architecting identity access management within enterprises in a modular, multi-vendor way.

According to KuppingerCole Analysts, most organizations that are using this paradigm as a foundation for the evolution of their overall IAM tend to build on a strong core platform for delivering major features and complement this by other solutions.

Identity suite, on the other hand, is a single set of identity management capabilities. It is usually delivered by one vendor, lagging to support various online identities comprehensively, or to add on the spectrum of the capabilities they already deliver if need arises. An identity suite commonly serves enterprises’ core requirements of identity access management.

Setting up identity fabrics to stay ahead of the curve

Organizations choose between a blend of the best fitting identity management capabilities, or an identity suite depending on their unique needs. In other words, if they require a general-purpose identity and access management service, they will use an identity suite to facilitate that. 

However, if a compliance need, e.g. GDPR compliance, arises at a later stage for instance, that identity suite will fail to cover this need. Similarly, if an identity verification need occurs, the use of that single preset of capabilities will equally fail to serve that necessity, etc. In these instances, the use of identity fabrics is suggested as the optimal solution. Let’s see why.

The all-important route towards digital transformation demands increasingly networked identities that can access an array of apps and online services in a seamless, secure and customer-centric way. This requires flexible, adaptive technology that can facilitate connections and individuals’ access rights while delivering identity access management features that are scalable and cover enterprises’ needs as they emerge. Setting up an identity fabrics model would, as result, be the most logical and innovative solution.

Identity fabrics offer best-of-breed capabilities for each area where top-notch customer identity access management is crucial for that competitive edge. Even in the scenario where an identity suite is developed for each type of identity access management, i.e., CIAM, EIAM, etc., that would still not suffice. The rapid growth of cloud and digital will still dictate additional implementations only identity fabrics could help resolve.

Thales at the forefront of CIAM innovation

Thales OneWelcome is a pioneer in this space as we engineer for a fabric, and we deliver a suite. This means that we offer a generic identity and access core platform together with a selection of identity apps, such as user journey orchestration, delegation and relation management, consent and preference management, mobile identity, externalized authorization, and more, for our customers to pick the best fitting capabilities they require each time.

Our modern platform empowers organizations to securely connect customers and business ecosystems to their online services – and it also integrates easily with a third-party core platform or third-party apps and services for maximum efficiency and cost control. Using our frictionless, secure and innovative solutions, our customers can rest assured they receive a return on their CIAM services investment.

Still have questions about how an identity fabric model can work within your enterprise or how to expedite your digital journey? Connect with an expert to learn more.