Managing Customer Identities with Azure Active Directory B2C

Managing customer identity is a critical aspect of any business. As customers interact with your company through various touchpoints such as websites, mobile applications, and social media channels, managing their identities becomes increasingly complex. Ensuring the security of customer data and maintaining trust is essential for customer retention and brand reputation. In this regard, managing customer identity challenges is crucial for businesses to operate successfully.

In this article, we discuss some common challenges in managing customer identities and explain how Azure Active Directory B2C (Azure AD B2C) identity service in the Azure cloud helps handle them, especially in the industries like Healthcare and life sciences, Insurance, and Oil & Gas. We will also provide an overview of Formula5’s Accelerator for Azure AD B2C which makes it possible to automatically deploy and configure Azure Active Directory B2C using Microsoft best practices.

Challenges with Modern Customer Identity Management

Below is a list of the typical challenges organization face in managing customer identities.

Protecting Customer Data

With the growing frequency of data breaches, securing customer data is of utmost importance. Implementing measures like two-factor authentication, strong password policies, and data encryption can help protect customer data.

Managing User Access

Granting the right level of access to the right people is vital to ensuring the security of customer data. Implementing access controls and permissions, such as role-based access control, can help ensure that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data.

Managing Multiple Identities

Customers may have multiple identities across various platforms (including social ones like Facebook or Twitter), making it challenging to manage them effectively. Implementing single sign-on (SSO) solutions can help customers manage their identities and access multiple platforms seamlessly.

Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

Different countries and industries have different data protection regulations. Businesses need to be aware of the regulations that apply to them and ensure compliance. Implementing measures such as data retention policies, data anonymization, and privacy impact assessments can help ensure regulatory compliance.

While there are certainly more challenges to building a modern customer identity management platform beyond those mentioned above, one effective way to address these challenges is to make use of the identity services available in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Specifically, Azure Active Directory B2C provides developers with a comprehensive set of authentication and authorization capabilities that can help securely manage user identities, profiles, and preferences for customer-facing applications.

Azure Active Directory B2C

Azure Active Directory B2C is a powerful customer identity access management (CIAM) solution available in the Microsoft Azure cloud, that can handle millions of users and billions of authentications every day. With built-in scalability and security features, the platform ensures the safety of the authentication process, continuously monitoring and mitigating threats such as denial-of-service attacks, password spray attacks, and brute force attacks.

Azure Active Directory B2C helps address above mentioned challenges around customer identity and access management. Let’s discover how.

User Authentication

Azure Active Directory B2C provides authentication services for customers accessing business resources such as websites or mobile applications. It supports multiple authentication methods such as social identity providers (Facebook, Google, etc.), enterprise identity providers (Active Directory, Okta, etc.), and local accounts (email, password).

Customization

Azure Active Directory B2C allows businesses to customize their user experiences by creating their own user interface (UI) and branding, ensuring a consistent and seamless user experience. Below there are two login pages presented with modified branding.

Multi-factor authentication

Azure Active Directory B2C supports MFA (Multi-factor Authentication), enabling businesses to require additional verification from customers before granting access to their resources. MFA adds an extra layer of security, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

Analytics and reporting

Azure Active Directory B2C provides analytics and reporting features, allowing businesses to monitor and analyze user activity, and gain insights into authentication trends and patterns. This information can be used to improve the user experience and enhance security measures.

Regulatory Compliance

Azure Active Directory B2C is generally available worldwide with the option for data residency in the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific, or Australia. It can be configured during the service creation. Azure AD B2C also supports consents management integration to stay compliant with GDPR or CCPA.

Integration with third-party services and APIs

Azure Active Directory B2C can be integrated with external systems. For example, we can use Azure AD B2C for user authentication, but during the authentication flow we can make a call to an external customer relationship management (CRM) or customer loyalty database as the source of truth for customer data. In this way we can easily exchange data between Azure AD B2C and external services and APIs.

What about cost?

Azure Active Directory B2C uses concept called Monthly Active Users (MAUs) for billing. Monthly Active Users is a metric used to measure the number of unique users who have interacted with Azure AD B2C during a calendar month. In Azure AD B2C, a user is considered active if they have authenticated or attempted to authenticate during that month.

First 50,000 Monthly Active Users per month are free for both, Premium1 (P1) and Premium2 (P2) licenses available for Azure AD B2C. Here is the summary of the cost for both licenses:

We can make simple calculation for both, P1 and P2 Azure AD B2C services:

Azure AD B2C (P1) with 100.000 Monthly Active Users:

$0.00325$ * (100 000 [Total] – 50 000 [Free]) = $162.5

Azure AD B2C (P2) with 100.000 Monthly Active Users:

$0.01625$ * (100 000 [Total] – 50 000 [Free]) = $812.5

As we can see, it is very beneficial because we can start using Azure Active Directory B2C for free and once our platform grows and expand 50.000 Monthly Active Users, then billing is started.

Formula5’s Accelerator for Azure AD B2C

At Formula5, we understand that deploying and managing Customer Identity and Access Management platform, without specialized knowledge, can be challenging.

That’s why we’ve architected and developed the Accelerator for Azure AD B2C, a modular solution powered by Microsoft Azure cloud services. The heart of our solution is an Azure Active Directory B2C identity service available in the Azure cloud.

Our accelerator consists of three main parts:

  1. Deployment scripts to quickly set up Azure AD B2C identity service in the cloud.
  2. Deployment scripts to automate the deployment of login, registration, and password reset pages.
  3. Infrastructure templates to include additional components like authentication with magic links.

With our knowledge and platform components, we help our clients to build modern customer identity and access platforms leveraging Azure cloud services.

Here are some of the capabilities we help to achieve:

  • Customization of the look and feel for login, registration, password reset, and profile edit pages.
  • Integration with other identity providers including social ones like Facebook or Twitter.
  • Enhanced security for users with multi-factor authentication and conditional access support.
  • High availability and scalability.
  • Managing user consent and account privacy.
  • Easy integration with external services and APIs.
  • Monitoring and insights about platform usage like failed user authentication operations.

Summary

In conclusion, managing customer identity challenges is a complex task that requires a multifaceted approach. Businesses must take proactive measures to protect customer data, manage user access, manage multiple identities, ensure regulatory compliance, and provide a seamless customer experience. These challenges can be addressed by Azure Active Directory B2C identity service so businesses can build trust with customers and maintain a positive brand reputation.

Written By

Modern Identity Lead

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