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Why do you need CIAM?

From scalability to CX, CIAM unlocks business-wide benefits

April 29, 2021

Customer experiences happen primarily online. If this wasn’t completely true for your business before 2020, it’s probably true now. Companies have come to understand that a seamless digital experience is no longer a competitive differentiator; it’s a baseline requirement.

Moreover, pressure-cooker economic conditions during the pandemic have shown that companies that understand their customers’ needs on a deep level are better-positioned to succeed. One way organizations are trying to do this is customer identity and access management (CIAM).

CIAM refers to a set of solutions intended to create the optimal balance between convenience, privacy, and security for each type of user. While identity and access management (IAM) is focused on managing identity and access for employees and partners, CIAM centers on customers.

CIAM exists at the intersection of customer experience, security, and analytics. It enables a smooth onboarding/login experience to build customer loyalty and increase conversion rates, guides compliance with data privacy laws and empowers companies to prevent data breaches. Crucially, CIAM encompasses not only how companies control end-users’ access to digital assets but also how they collect, analyze, and store data related to those users.

A Centralized Source of Truth

CIAM enables companies to compile siloed user data into a single source of truth that helps you make better strategic decisions. If your user data is disorganized, siloed, and inaccurate, you can’t generate a clear picture of your customers. Without clear insight into your users, you can’t offer highly personalized offers and product recommendations that drive additional revenue and create more value for your customers.

Duplicate and siloed data also create barriers to compliance with data privacy laws. A centralized view of your customers gives you the tools you need to meet the requirements of laws like GDPR and CPRA.

Can’t we build it ourselves?

Some organizations manage part or all of CIAM themselves, but that’s a big challenge, and it gets bigger as you scale. Given the complexity and dynamism of CIAM, forward-thinking companies are entrusting CIAM to one or more third-party identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) experts. Outsourcing CIAM to a third party is a wiser use of your resources than asking your developers to manage customer identity in-house. Buying rather than building your CIAM solution saves time and money, and it gives you the agility and expertise you need to respond to evolving use cases, new or updated privacy laws, and other variables that can make identity management more complicated.

Business Benefits of CIAM

Centralizing user data on one platform unlocks company-wide benefits even beyond creating a single source of truth. Here’s an overview of the organizational rewards you can realize with CIAM.


On the list of advantages of CIAM, scalability is near the top. Unlike B2B and workforce identity solutions that support users with static access to preassigned applications, CIAM platforms must be able to support millions, even billions, of users. In addition, CIAM solutions must be able to scale in response to not only anticipated events (like the holiday shopping season or the World Cup) but also to unanticipated events that can dramatically increase demand (like viewers eager for official updates during the pandemic).

Customer experience

When customer experience is a priority, features like single sign-on (SSO) and adaptive multi-factor authentication (MFA) help you deliver the frictionless CIAM experience your customers expect.

CIAM platforms also enable event-driven personalization tactics, such as progressive profiling, in which user data is collected incrementally in a series of interactions over time. The goal is to build a trusting, mutually beneficial relationship between the company and customers. Users recognize that by providing more information (such as rating a purchase or filling out demographic information), they can get more value in the form of personalized offers and relevant recommendations. And by cultivating the trust of their customers, companies ultimately realize more value in terms of both reputation and revenue.


Customer data is among your organization’s most prized assets. In the wrong hands, however, data becomes a liability. That’s why the best CIAM solutions have robust security features built to defend against malicious attacks on any front.

For many organizations, the login box is the front line of defense against broken authentication attacks like credential stuffing. A CIAM solution with MFA and brute force protection is an important part of your defense strategy. MFA ensures that one stolen credential won’t allow automatic access to your users’ other accounts, while brute force protection keeps attackers from barraging your application with fraudulent login attempts that can crash your site.

Privacy and compliance

Centralized user management is necessary to meet the reporting and erasure requirements of data privacy laws like GDPR, CPRA, APPI, and LGPD. These laws are literally rewriting the rules for how organizations are permitted to collect, store, and leverage user data. CIAM helps you meet these legal requirements by enabling the encryption of sensitive data, controlling access to digital resources, and collecting data, and managing consent in compliance with applicable laws.

Create More Value with CIAM

As organizations initiate and accelerate digital transformation projects to meet sky-high demand for digital services, CIAM is becoming indispensable across industries, from retail to tech-powered fitness.

In our whitepaper, we explore in depth the capabilities you should look for in a CIAM platform, from scalability and agility to personalization and compliance. You can also reach out to the Auth0 team to learn more about how CIAM could benefit your organization.

About Auth0

Auth0 by Okta takes a modern approach to customer identity and enables organizations to provide secure access to any application, for any user. Auth0 is a highly customizable platform that is as simple as development teams want, and as flexible as they need. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 delivers convenience, privacy, and security so customers can focus on innovation. For more information, visit

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