What is CIAM?

Author: Thomas Bröker

Last updated: August 1, 2022

Need to offer external people secure online access to your data or systems? Whether it’s consumers, business partners, agents, franchise offices, or other stakeholders, a CIAM system (short for Customer Identity and Access Management) will do the job. But CIAM doesn’t stop there: high-quality CIAM solutions will act as a flexible hub for all your relevant systems, future-proofing your business for the digital age.

Who needs CIAM?

If your business gives external people secure online access to systems or information, you need an entire digital infrastructure. A good CIAM system will offer a secure foundation for all the processes and applications you wish to incorporate. Once you have set up the basics – registration and login, you can start adding all the functionality you need to provide a seamless user experience for your customers or stakeholders, from self-service to secure messaging and much more. On top of that, a good CIAM system will facilitate easy compliance with national and international regulations like GDPR and PSD2.

Connect with your customers online

A CIAM solution can help you bring your customers online, a process known as onboarding. There are many advantages to bringing your customers online, some of which you can read about in our dedicated blog. The experience customers have during this process is key to its success. The easier it is to create an account, verify identity and log in, the more likely consumers are to stay loyal to your business or even get more engaged. The same goes for stakeholders: ease of use of your systems can make or break the relationship.

User identity as a skeleton key

Your CIAM system is the central hub where you can connect all your different online user platforms, such as apps and web portals. By plugging each platform into this central system, you can greatly improve the customer experience. For example: a bank may have different user portals for personal and business accounts. Some users may have both a personal and a business account with this bank. But due to legacy systems, these platforms are completely separate and customers with both types of accounts cannot easily switch between them: they must log into and out of each platform separately. A CIAM system can resolve this issue because it effectively brings the point of identification forward. After establishing the user’s identity, the CIAM system allows the user to access all of his accounts across different platforms with a single login point.

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