Using customer identity and access management to create a barrier-free and secure customer journey

Studie von Yubico zeigt mangelhafte Bereitschaft für starke Authentifizierung

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)

By Fritz Mandlmeier, Senior Account Executive at Ping Identity

The Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) not only allows companies to securely capture and manage customer identity data in combination with the RCM system, but also offers the possibility to individually control access to applications and services. This is an indispensable prerequisite to ensure a smooth and positive user experience across all digital interaction points, “omni-channel”.

Fritz Mandlmeier, Senior Account Executive at Ping Identity

Numerous registration forms, the query of complex passwords, e-mail confirmations and proof of identity provide a lot of frustration potential for customers. And the marketing teams are also feeling the effects of clunky registration processes: cancelled purchases, complaints and low return rates are only one side of the coin. In order to be able to provide customers with individualized services and offers, they must be able to collect and correctly interpret user data. Not an easy task when you consider that customers today shop across channels, so that account management and the user data left behind end up in silos. This is where customer Identity and Access Management comes in.

Advantages for providers and customers

Many companies already have an identity and access management (IAM) solution for their employees. However, these often miss the functions that are required for an optimal customer experience:

Uniform profiles

Customer access is no longer limited to web applications, but also includes mobile applications. CIAM enables uniform customer profiles so that providers can benefit from consistent multi-channel experiences and personalized interactions with their customers.


CIAM solutions offer powerful security features ranging from authentication, fraud and risk management to the data layer to reduce the risk of data breaches – and thus the loss of sales, reputation and customer trust.

Performance and Scalability

The amount of data that providers collect about each customer is constantly increasing. With CIAM, smooth access to customer-oriented applications and services can be ensured even at peak loads or with a growing customer base.

Data protection and legal compliance

Customers are passing on more and more information to providers and their partners in order to make interactions easier and more personalized. However, the privacy concerns of users are still present, which is why they expect a responsible handling of their personal data. CIAM enables companies to give back control over their data to customers and at the same time comply with all legal framework conditions.

Centrally managed customer identities allow companies a 360-degree view of the customer. Since the data is collected along the customer journey across all touchpoints and can be accessed centrally, not only are fewer resources tied up in administration, but security is also increased.

Against data leaks, fraud and customer loss

If customers are afraid that the provider of their choice might not take enough care to protect personal data, nothing prevents them from switching to the competition. With CIAM solutions, companies are able to securely collect and manage customer identity and profile data, as well as control customer access to applications and services. These solutions typically offer a mix of features such as customer registration, self-service account management, consent and preference management, single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), access management, directory services and data access control, enabling a secure, seamless customer experience with high scalability and performance – regardless of the channels through which the customer contacts the provider.

Customer identity plays a central role in improving security and the customer experience throughout the customer journey. For example, the Ping consumer survey “Brand Loyalty is Earned at Login” showed that 56 percent of customers left an online service because logging in was too frustrating.

CIAM solutions ensure that customer data is protected and secure at every stage of customer contact by increasing security while minimizing the likelihood of data breaches and fraud.
Data breaches are often due to attacks from within or unintentional errors of the IT or development teams. CIAM solutions encrypt data, alert administrators of suspicious activity and make protocol manipulations obvious.

Unlike data breaches, which are mass attacks, fraud attempts are usually directed against individual customers. A cybercriminal can gain access to a customer’s login details via a compromised website or by means of a phishing attack. As a result, these access data are usually used to attack higher-value targets, such as bank websites. Unfortunately, since customers tend to use the same login data for different websites, the scammers’ attempts are often successful. The best defense against fraud is multi-factor authentication (MFA). It goes beyond the use of usernames and passwords and requires an additional form of authentication to verify a user’s identity. For this purpose, a push notification is often sent to a terminal device that is linked to the customer account.

For maximum user comfort, providers have the option of activating adaptive authentication. With it, you will be able to evaluate customer behavior, device information and other contextual factors. Adaptive authentication uses this information in real time to determine the degree of risk and only use MFA when justified. By limiting the need for additional authentication to higher-risk scenarios, such as logging in from a new device, vendors can eliminate friction in risk-free transactions and optimize the customer experience.

Fraud detection tools that use data collection and analysis to detect fraudulent behavior can also proactively prevent fraud before it happens. By continuously collecting behavioral data throughout a user’s journey, such as navigation patterns, speed, scrolling and mouse movements, these tools can detect non-human trends or behavioral patterns that are typical of cybercriminals. In this way, companies are able to detect fraudulent activities without harassing their customers.

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