Interview with Sadrick Widmann: “Every company needs customer identity management – many have just not realized it yet
Cidaas is one of the first customer identity and access management systems developed and hosted in Germany. Many companies know little about this topic today. In this interview, the managing director and product manager, Sadrick Widmann, answers questions about why every company needs a CIAM.
Sadrick, please introduce yourself and your product to our readers.
Sadrick: cidaas is a cloud-based customer identity and access management software that centrally manages and uniquely authenticates the growing number of identities that access an organization’s digital services and applications on a single platform. A digital identity cannot just be a customer, partner or employee – in an industry 4.0 environment, an identity can also belong to a machine that automatically exchanges data and therefore needs to be authenticated.
cidaas is a product of Widas ID GmbH, which was formed from the WidasConcepts group of companies. It was founded in 1997 by my father Thomas Widmann and focuses on strategic business and IT consulting as well as on the development of customized software solutions based on Big Data and IoT technologies and their operation in hybrid or public cloud infrastructures.
I myself have been responsible for cidaas since 2017, as Managing Director and Product Manager, and support our customers in building identity-based business models.
What is the vision behind cidaas?
Sadrick: We see cidaas as the European answer to the established North American providers and guarantee with our technical and organizational measures that the users of cidaas receive the german quality and corresponding data protection. Cidaas is “Software made in Germany” – we are not only located in Germany, but also use local servers and thus offer the highest security standards. Of course, this does not mean that we want to restrict ourselves to the German or European market only. Today, we already serve international customers from other infrastructures.
It is our desire to enable a secure and trustworthy interaction between the digital and the real world with cidaas.
Because only when I am sure that my data is protected – be it as an employee, buyer, supplier or even in the interaction between machines – will communication develop further.
The key to a successful digital transformation therefore lies in the identification, management and interaction of the digital identities of the people involved.
With cidaas we connect the growing number of applications, devices, interaction channels and associated identities on one platform. Security, scalability, flexibility and user comfort are our top priorities.
How did you get the idea and what differentiates you from other CIAM providers?
Sadrick: The original idea developed from a customer project of WidasConcepts. At that time, a renowned German medical engineer was looking for a solution for his identity and authorization management, which not only allowed the management of identities but also their authentication and authorization on a central platform.
Following the evaluation of several software solutions, we came to the conclusion that no provider could map all requirements “out-of-the-box” and that major development efforts would be necessary to configure the solution as desired. So we developed the solution ourselves and cidaas was born.
One of our unique selling points is that we are one of the first German companies to offer customer identity management software. Most of the companies that currently offer this solution in the market today come from the USA, which is a critical factor, with regard to the stricter data protection regulations for European users. Our solution is not only “Software made in Germany”, but is also completely hosted in Germany – most of it even in our own data centre “Widas Cloud”.
Another aspect from which our customers benefit, and has been repeatedly proven in our projects, is that our solution is unbeatable in terms of technical functionality. Just to quote a few examples:
- Modern and secure two-factor authentication options, including the use of biometric features
- Everything is an API – cidaas can be connected to any existing infrastructure through API´s
- Identity linking or de-duplication of users
- GDPR-compliant consent management: Creation and implementation of Terms & Conditions and other data protection guidelines
And these are only a few of the features that cidaas brings “out of the box”. We have developed cidaas from the beginning in such a way that it can be integrated independently into the existing infrastructure in the shortest possible time and if sufficient internal IT know-how is available.
From the idea to the start, what were the biggest challenges you faced so far and how did you finance yourself?
Sadrick: In my view, there are two challenges that we have to face every day. The first is that digital identities and their management are still considered inadequately in most companies today. That’s striking because each of us has an average of about 30 different digital identities. However, companies are still hanging on to old security philosophies that relate to the protection of traditional endpoints. The fact that the management of access rights and information is equally important for a company’s external stakeholders as it is for its internal ones, is overlooked. Most new business models focus on the customer himself and his digital identity. And only those who know these and their needs and give them easy access to their own digital channels can do business today.
This means that we have a lot of learning and clarifying to do in our discussions.
In addition, as a medium-sized German company, we are in competition with major North American players who have long since discovered the subject of identity management and have access to a market that has developed in the meantime, and who, unlike us, often market the solution first and only then drive the development forward.
So far, we have been able to rely exclusively on private equity from the Widas Group for the financing of cidaas. However, since we have been able to attract many well-known companies in recent months, we are convinced that we will soon be able to contribute an ever-increasing share to the success of the group.
Who is the target group of cidaas?
Sadrick: The target groups where cidaas can be used are extremely diverse. For example, “experimenta”, Germany’s largest science centre, has just chosen cidaas for central user administration. This protects the data on the visitor portal from unauthorized access and the upstream processes such as registration, login and payment of tickets are now completely digital. Furthermore, cidaas makes it possible for the user to access the experiences saved in the user’s personal account again after visiting the exhibition world.
Another customer of ours is active in the field of medical technology. In this project it was important to provide seamless access across all platforms of the company through Single Sign-On (SSO), to relieve the users from the burden of authenticating themselves each time they access a different portal of the company and to give the administrators a holistic view of all customers of the company.
Our other customers are, for example, purely e-commerce companies, but also medium-sized mechanical engineers and a polymer processor.
cidaas can be used wherever a user or a machine has to identify itself and is provided with special information etc. As already indicated in the headline of the interview – every company, regardless of its size, needs cidaas. Many just don’t know it yet.
How does cidaas work? – What are the advantages? – What differentiates you from other providers?
Sadrick: cidaas is a cloud-based CIAM solution. An easy-to-use dashboard allows the administrator to define how a user can identify himself and at the same time what the user can access. For authorization, biometric data, classic e-mail password queries or authentication via social login can be used, in which the existing data of the user’s social media accounts are used. In addition, dedicated roles and permissions can be assigned in cidaas, what the user can access and what actions can be performed. An example can be shown using the case of consent: The user can be provided with a service that allows him or her to change the consent he or she has given to the company’s Terms & Conditions, marketing services, etc.
In contrast to other providers, we can claim that no other customer identity management software is equipped with such a comprehensive feature set and we see another unique selling point in the fact that our data is hosted in Germany.
How’s the feedback?
Sadrick: Our users are excited. As I mentioned before, this is mainly due to the wide range of functions that cidaas brings “out of the box” and also because the usability is intuitive and the software suite integrates seamlessly into existing software architecture due to the “Everything is an API” approach. There is also no limit in terms of scalability, which means that the software adapts to the company and its growth at any time.
Cidaas – where is it headed? Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Sadrick: In five years we want to see cidaas established as one of the leading identity tools and be named in the same league as the global players.
Finally: What 3 tips would you give to aspiring businessmen?
Sadrick: Believe in your idea, maybe the time is not ripe yet, but this gives you the chance to be the ” First Mover “.
Keep a close eye on your competition and learn from it.
Don’t be afraid to think “BIG”.
Further information can be found here
We would like to thank Sadrick Widmann for the interview