August 31, 2020 By Martijn Loderus 2 min read

Consumer identity and access management (CIAM) is the connective technology between consumers and brands. CIAM is an important consideration when navigating routes to market for your products and services. A consumer’s journey navigating solutions to problems is where you can leverage the CIAM building blocks — capture, engage, manage and administration — for more personalized campaigns and direct consumer engagement. Read on to learn the meaning and drivers of these building blocks.

Explore CIAM for your organization


CIAM has a different objective compared to traditional workforce identity and access management (IAM) solutions. It aims to bring in as many consumers as possible while authenticating them in an engaging and personal manner.

Where traditional IAM is all about access control, CIAM is geared toward consumer data capture and engagement. CIAM opens the door to more personalized offers through progressive profiling and secure interactions with consumers — from discovery to online shopping to brand advocacy. That leads us to the building blocks of CIAM.

The Building Blocks of CIAM

Capture: Every business will need to capture users’ identities and profiles to engage with them in a personal manner. This is an important step in enticing unknown users to provide information and helps the organization establish a relationship with the consumer.

Engage: At this stage, the organization must balance security and experience to connect with consumers on a deeper level. Your stakeholders will want to look at improving the user experience through social login and single sign-on and employ multifactor authentication (MFA) to protect personally identifiable information (PII).

Manage: This building block is an important consideration as it relates to managing PII and sensitive data for consumers. CIAM solutions can help the enterprise deliver self-serviced profile and consent management.

Administration: Finally, administration, or admin, is an important aspect of the operations and maintenance of a CIAM platform. IT managers are most concerned with this area as it relates to provisioning new web applications and user accounts. In other words, IT managers will be most concerned with this building block because it deals with how consumer profiles are migrated, imported or exported throughout the business environment. The IT team will need to put relevant policy and regulatory controls in place.

Different Uses for Different People

Each of these building blocks is a key element for many different stakeholders within the company. A chief marketing officer may be primarily concerned with how to capture and engage the consumer to shift toward a brand loyalist. A security leader may be more concerned with the security management and administration of the data and where the identity profiles are stored.

Each of the building blocks above provides a framework in which to think about the use cases and entry points into CIAM. These entry points can provide an organization with the right lens and perspective to drive toward success.

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