Thales Blog

8 Key Components of a CIAM Platform

May 23, 2023

Jordi Clements Jordi Clement | Chief Technology Officer More About This Author >

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is essentially developed to improve the customer experience (CX), ensure the highest level of security, protect customer data, and support the management of external, non-employee identities. Organizations across all industries, from banks and retailers to governments and healthcare providers can leverage CIAM to earn customers' trust and meet their growing desire for convenient, safe digital interactions.

And it’s exactly this; the holistic combination of capabilities, that are driving more businesses to integrate CIAM into their front-facing apps, websites, and portals.

Yet while CIAM streamlines user experience and security it can be tricky to pinpoint exactly what CIAM does – or rather – what it should do. In this article, we list eight key components of a good CIAM solution.

Experience (and security) is everything

The evolution of CIAM technology came about in response to a demand for more security, control, and visibility of consumer identity-related data and information. But it also assists companies on their quest to execute seamless experiences.

Customers are currently more demanding than ever. They anticipate that organizations will fulfill their requests without hassle, and they are more likely to abandon their shopping carts and go on to a competitor if they cannot rely on the website's security and accessibility.

It's important to understand this properly, as PwC's "Experience is Everything" report shows. A whopping 73% of respondents cited a positive experience as a reason for sticking with a brand, and 52% indicated they would increase their spending if the service were delivered quickly and efficiently. According to Forbes, after three or four negative interactions with a company, 92% of customers will quit doing business with them.

An interesting aspect of this is that it extends beyond the notion of a unified omnichannel experience to include the feeling of safety that one has when using the service. Secure digital identities are the foundation of establishing that safety feeling and preventing successful data breaches. Should such an event happen, customers must be notified to understand how the breach occurred or to quantify the financial damage. Every interaction increases the risk of losing a customer and damaging the company's image.

A closer look at the PwC survey reveals that efficiency, convenience, and competent service are the three aspects that stand out most to the majority of clients. Only 15% of businesses surveyed could reliably identify their audiences (current and potential customers), highlighting the importance of understanding your client base.

A CIAM solution is the “glue” that brings together the management of digital interactions and external identities to help you prevent damaging customer experience and your client’s trust in your company. CIAM keeps customer data private and secure, eliminates onboarding friction, and improves personalization.

8 core CIAM capabilities

Businesses must provide – and sustain – trusted and privacy-protected digital interactions. In this story, customer experience is the protagonist. Part of accomplishing this goal is finding a middle ground between safety and ease of use.

These days, CIAM is about more than just keeping processes safe and compliant. Today’s CIAM solutions also provide a unified perspective of the customer and data gleaned from their omnichannel interactions and purchases. They focus on the client at various points in their journey with a company. These features are intended to satisfy the needs of digital consumers.

1. Consent Management: Explicit customer consent must be received for the use of their information. Consumer account dashboards are standard, providing customers with consent monitoring, granting, and withdrawal options.

2. Adaptive authentication: Mobile biometrics, behavioral biometrics, mobile apps and SDKs, and FIDO2 are all prevalent multi-factor authentication (MFA) methods used as part of an overall risk-adaptive authentication approach to continually verify user identity.

3. Preference management: Using consumer data to drive personalisation and engage with customers wherever they are.

4. Multichannel access: Providing customers with multiple ways to interact with your organization.

5. Simplified registration and progressive profiling: Making it easy to sign up by allowing users to register and login using OIDC credentials from social network operators, then continuing to collect consumer or customer information on an as-needed basis to improve profiles.

6. Transparent data collection: Notifying consumers that their data is being collected, processed and used, and for what purposes.

7. Secure self-service functions: Letting users enroll in multi-factor authentication, manage passwords and other security features, and access and manage their customer accounts.

8. Modern customer advocate workflows: From tracking marketing and service initiatives, to results for a truly customer-centric business approach.

Thales OneWelcome Identity Platform is the ideal platform for quickly and easily bringing customers online. The platform provides a seamless user experience in addition to several MFA options that are both secure and difficult to compromise, such as FIDO2 security keys, pattern-based authentication, and one-time password (OTP) push notifications. Technicalities aside, the platform ensures customers receive the fast and easy digital experience they demand, while the highest level of security runs in the background.

Find out what you can achieve by providing a single interface for all identities.