What is CIAM?

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is the front door for all your customers. It lets them adopt and engage with your digital products and services, and gives you the means to accurately identify, collect, analyze and secure their data.

So consider this your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about your new favorite cross functional technology.

Read on to discover all the ways in which CIAM can help everyone — from marketing to security to engineering teams… and the person who just wants to order pizza.

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Why does CIAM matter?

It doesn’t matter what you do, you need to offer the best digital experience possible for your customers.

This requires organizations to introduce and integrate new services and technologies faster, while catering to customers' expectations for highly responsive and frictionless omni-channel experiences. All while building trust through secure and transparent data management practices.

CIAM is the strategic solution needed to cover all of these bases. By centralizing access across customer-facing digital channels, and through integration with the existing tech stack, CIAM allows you to:

  • Accurately identify customers across digital properties
  • Enrich user profiles with verified, deterministic data including granular consent, permission, and preference data
  • Reduce security risk with a unified security layer
  • Leverage actionable insights (sign-up and login event data) to identify points of friction, risk and opportunities for segmentation

Who is CIAM for?

Almost everyone and anyone. Identity fragmentation leads to developers wasting their time, meaning less hours to spend building the next amazing feature. Security teams lose holistic insights across tooling, which leads to gaps and gasps of frustration.

Data privacy becomes complicated as data may have been collected across systems without the proper consent, impacting compliance teams’ ability to enforce compliant data practices, which means lawyers knocking on the inbox door. And marketing teams lose track of that crucial customer data, which means more shouting at customers with words they don’t want to hear.

CIAM is the solution everyone has in common.

CIAM use cases

CIAM can help organizations get to market faster, remove risks, and improve user onboarding, conversion, and engagement.

Get to market quickly, and allow for future agility

Build and enhance digital apps and services with tools that drive identity driven administration and automation, while providing the ability to easily orchestrate customizations to address current and evolving requirements.

Achieve security at scale

Easily implement a unified attack protection layer across your entire customer base and digital properties while meeting scale, privacy and compliance requirements.

Improve conversion, engagement and onboarding

Build intuitive onboarding, sign up and login experiences that only introduce friction at the right time, while leveraging holistic identity data to drive personalization and segmentation.

CIAM capabilities

Here are just a few of the awesome capabilities CIAM offers:

Progressive profiling

Take it slow with users and build their profile over time, instead of asking for their life story straight away.

Adaptive MFA

Only add more friction with second-factor authentication when the primary factor login looks suspicious or unusual.

Passwordless authentication

Makes things easier and more secure for users by letting them use biometrics or security keys.

Bot detection

Trigger reCAPTCHA when an anomaly is detected, such as a suspicious IP address.

Single sign on (SSO)

Enable users to sign in to all applications using a single set of credentials, which can be in the form of social login or federated with any IdP.

Breached password protection

Identify and remove compromised passwords.


Reduce support costs and improve engagement by providing users with the ability to recover their own accounts and reset their own passwords.


Support common identity flows such as identity proofing and consent with OOTB connections to third-party systems, while being able to address unique requirements with low-code options.

Centralized user management

Manage users holistically, using centralized admin consoles/dashboards with role-based access controls, and take advantage of consolidated audit logs for security and compliance reporting.

How to choose your CIAM solution whitepaper cover

How to choose your CIAM solution

You need a solution that helps everyone — customers, devs, engineers, security folks, and marketing teams. So whatever side of the fence you’re on, this guide will help you.

Download the whitepaper

Dive deeper into industry use cases

Go further into the customer identity world with these specialized solutions from Okta and Auth0.

Consumer Applications

Create frictionless, trustworthy experiences from the first click to the last.

Go to Auth0.com

B2B SaaS

Improve onboarding and user management for your business customers.

Go to Auth0.com