The Customer in Focus: Self-Sovereign Identity, Data Sovereignty, CIAM

Learn how Data Sovereignty and Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) build trust in CIAM, emphasizing customer control and privacy protection.

Sep 22, 2023 - 3 min.
Picture of: Branka Miljanovic
Branka Miljanovic

The keyword ‘data sovereignty' is currently a hot topic of discussion. The idea that every customer has the right to determine their personal data and how it is processed and used is becoming increasingly important. And rightly so: 

Data is the new gold in the age of digitalisation. Data sovereignty not only promises to give users personal control over their sensitive data, privacy protection and security. Companies also stand to profit from this: The introduction of the concept builds confidence in digital services because users feel that their data is being handled responsibly. This establishes a trusting and long-term relationship between customers and the company. Data sovereignty can also encourage innovation because new business models can be developed within the framework of controlled privacy protection. Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is also closely linked to data sovereignty. That’s because SSI also supports the notion that individuals should control their personal data and identities. Read on to discover how these two concepts can be combined with CIAM systems to help organisations adopt a user-centric approach to identity management.

Data security and privacy protection: a question of trust 

The importance of trust in the area of privacy protection cannot be overestimated. For companies, this key factor is not only the basis for attracting customers but also for building long-term relationships with consumers. If this trust is lost as a result of a privacy violation or another type of data breach, companies must not only pay heavy fines but are also exposed to damage that extends to the reputation of the respective organisation. In many cases, this can even spell the end of the company. 

There are plenty of examples from recent years: The multinational technology company Yahoo hit the headlines in 2016 when three billion user accounts were hacked. As if that were not problematic enough, it turned out that the hack had actually been perpetrated in 2013 and that consumers had been left in the dark for three years. 

Attention also turned to LinkedIn 2021, when the company discovered that 90 per cent of its user data was available to purchase on the dark net.

Our Security Barometer 2022 shows that consumers care deeply about the security of their data. Around 68 per cent of respondents said that they see the misuse of their personal data as the biggest danger. IT decision-makers, on the other hand, frequently underestimate consumers' need for security. In general, the protection of customer data is less of a priority for IT decision-makers than it is for the customers themselves. For instance, bank data was considered to be particularly worthy of protection by 87 per cent of consumers surveyed but by only 69 per cent of the experts. A similar picture emerges with regard to access data to online accounts, which is a matter of concern for 80 per cent of customers but for just 57 per cent of companies. This disparity is particularly stark when it comes to email addresses. Although they play a decisive role in many attacks by cybercriminals, just 18 per cent of IT managers consider them particularly worthy of protection compared with around 58 per cent of private users.

How CIAM builds customer trust with SSI and data sovereignty

SSI typically allows individuals to retain control over their own identity data by storing it in digital wallets and sharing it on a selective basis. The concept of data sovereignty also emphasises the idea of individual data sovereignty. As a result, companies in the CIAM environment can use SSI principles to give their customers control over their profile information and authorisation rights. Furthermore, SSI uses cryptographic technologies to guarantee privacy protection as well as data security. The concept of comprehensive privacy protection and data security is a key component of data sovereignty. Robust security measures are implemented for CIAM systems to protect the confidentiality of customer data. 

SSI uses decentralised technologies such as blockchain to store identity data. This decentralised approach supports the concept of data sovereignty by moving away from centralised databases. CIAM can use this decentralisation to manage customer accounts securely and independently.

Transparency regarding the use of personal and sensitive data, along with customer consent, are also important aspects of data sovereignty. In the CIAM environment, companies should clearly explain how customer data is used and implement transparent mechanisms for consent and consent management.

SSI relies on technologies that strengthen trust in identity and data integrity. In the CIAM world, trust is a decisive factor when it comes to encouraging customers to share their data and sign up for digital platforms.

In the relationship between customers and companies, trust is everything. With a CIAM system, it can be strengthened so that it pays off in the long term.

Security meets customer experience – the benefits of CIAM