cIAM vs. IAM: The Obvious Choice

“I enjoy fumbling through a sign-on every time I want to access a website or mobile app,” said no customer, ever.

Good business is all about a great user experience. This isn’t a new concept, but with today’s hyper connected consumer, companies have no choice but to deliver a great experience every time. If not, they could be at risk of losing customers to the competition.

Today, customers expect an enhanced experience that is consistent across all channels, speaks directly to them, and actively solves their problems. To do this, companies can’t afford to rely on the traditional Identity and Access Management (IAM) model for their business.

cIAM vs. IAM

Traditional IAM was originally built to manage employee access to internal servers. Until recently, when a business added a new consumer facing web or mobile app, they would simply just modify existing IAM tools. Customers just had to live with the resulting messy sign-on process, in the feeble attempt to improve security.

The limitations of IAM also becomes pretty clear when companies attempt to use it for customer data. The system, which is designed mainly for security, cannot provide the scalability and flexible performance required to compete in today’s digital market.

Customers now have plenty of choices to choose from, and will abandon the lengthy authentication process. They instead will turn to a competitor who provides an easier, more seamless experience. A cloud-based customer identity and access management (cIAM) solution can help give businesses that competitive edge.

Not only can cIAM assist businesses in extracting maximum value from customer data, it can do this while maintaining a high level of usability, security and privacy. Where IAM can allow customers to shop, cIAM can provide a smoother authentication process, while giving insights into who they are and what they do once inside.

Key Features

Some of the key benefits cIAM can have for a business include:

  • Flexibility and how many technologies it can support: A cIAM platform incorporates several Application Program Interfaces (API) distributed by different websites like Facebook or Google. The system can then make use of the social identities issued by them for social login and other applications.
  • Seamless integration and migration to cloud: Another benefit is the integration and migration of the customer data from a business’s existing system, to the cloud and a flawless configuration of the platform.
  • Futuristic outlook and life cycle: “How long can you run with the cIAM platform until it runs out of juice and becomes incompetent”. This is a very important question to consider, as technology changes every second. The software should be able to stay in sync with updates, in order to justify the business’s investment.
  • Performance: A very important metric is the uptime of the system. If a platform is down for even a couple of minutes, it could mean several hundreds of lost customers for no fault of the companies.
  • Security, privacy and encryption policies: The importance of privacy is fast rising. Not only does improved security result in customers peace of mind, but it can also mean less hacks for the company.

These components would probably be the last thing an IAM system would consider. User experience, privacy, support across different channels and business analytics are not really the priority.

cIAM is the Obvious Choice

These distinct cIAM capabilities benefit both the customer and the business. They can help companies get to know their customers for a more personalized experience. It can build loyalty, while giving the consumers a more secure, unified, and compelling experience across multiple channels.

If implemented well, cIAM can help companies achieve a balance of customer experience and security. It can also provided a unified view of the customer, all while meeting security and privacy needs.


If you want to learn more about how the cIAM solution can help your business, read here.

Emily Genge


Emily is a Marketing Intern at LoginRadius, a leading Customer Identity Management platform. She is a recent graduate from the University of Waterloo, where she studied Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication. Some of her hobbies include photography, unicorns, and reading.

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