What is Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)?

What is Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)?

There are millions of people around the world who use different services provided by various brands to make life easier for them. But what does it take for a customer to switch to another brand? The answer is quite simple: Experience. One bad experience from the brand can send a customer in the other direction. So, quality customer experience should be the foremost goal for any business. 

This brings another question into focus: What are the awful experiences that scare a user? A frequent response is the fear of a data breach. Digital Identity has taken up the world by a storm, and the sensitive data is being entrusted to the brands by the customers. To keep the customers interested and their data safe from attacks, CIAM provides the best solution.

CIAM Expectations

Employee or workforce IAM is generally well established in most IT systems, so there is a misconception that Customer IAM doesn’t differ much from IAM. There are so many features which have to be taken into consideration when it comes to the customers. They include:


The complexity of this situation lies in the numbers. Identity management within an enterprise is much simpler. But when the number of customers increases, there is also an exponential increase in the data collected from them. Customer demands also vary with the environment and seasons. Smoothly handling this is possible with CIAM.


When customers register into an enterprise, they enter user-specific data, which are usually sensitive information, and most of the authentication methods depend on such entered details. The use of such sensitive data could be reduced by implementing CIAM methods like Single Sign-On(SSO), which uses external resources for authentication.


As a customer gives access to their data for a personalized experience, they also expect that their anonymity is maintained. CIAM is helpful with its transparent policies, which assures the customer of their privacy.

Multichannel support

Long gone is the time where customers used a single device to engage with a brand. Now, 59% of the users worldwide, have integrated all their devices like mobiles, web, IoT for a seamless experience. So consistent and synchronous customer experience is another requirement from CIAM. 


How CIAM benefits customers?

A smooth customer experience involves the services to be easy-to-use and self-supportable. Those services include,

  • Registration
  • Authentication
  • Personalization
  • Autonomy
  • Support


Registration is a quintessential aspect because this is the first instance where the customer entrusts his data to the enterprise. No matter what reason prompts him to take the step, this welcoming act should further solidify his decision. Customer identity employs methods that are convenient to the user, like social registration, and also makes this registration consistent throughout all its related apps.


The next step should pave the way to make the services comfortable to the user. Customers are already forced to remember several login credentials, and adding another count to the long list would make it strenuous to the user. Social login, along with SSO, provides the convenience to make the login process frictionless. MFA has also become a common method of login and customer-friendly methods like SMS or push notifications can also be used to encourage users.


75% of the users expect a personalized service across all their apps. How is this made possible?When a customer uses the services provided, the service usually stores the information collected during that usage period. When this data is shared with the related apps, then a personalized and user-targeted experience can be provided. At the same time, it should also ensure that this collected data is shared only with the associated apps and prevented from any kind of breaches.


Even if an entirely customer friendly service is provided, there still exists a possibility for errors. The interface provided to the user should be understandable in such a way that even if an error occurs, the users are provided with the means to easily solve their problems. Did you know that 67% of the users prefer to clear up their problems rather than reach out to customer service?


There is also a probability for the above point to be contradicted. If a user requests support, then it is best if the situation is immediately cleared. Statistical reports show that 82% of the users expect an immediate response to the support calls that they make. Support calls have identification as the first step, and this part can be accomplished with the help of CIAM. Further details which are needed can also be acquired by Customer Identity.

Thus, a seamless experience is provided at each stage with the help of Customer IAM. 

To a customer, their data is of the utmost importance. Any kind of compromise to their data results in losing the customers to a competitor. When the unique nature of a customer is paired with CIAM solutions, then an excellent experience can be ensured for every individual customer.

To know more about the reasons for the popularity of CIAM and to know about its top providers, check this out!