CIAM by example: Four recipes to improve security and UX

This post is part of the series Learn CIAM by example: 4 recipes to improve your app’s security and UX. You can learn more about the series by downloading our four recipes in a cookbook format.

In this series, we'll show you how Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) can improve the security and user experience (UX) of your applications.

Each recipe will cover common challenges and how to resolve them with CIAM, alongside best practices, essential considerations, and gotchas. (To see all recipes at once, check our cookbook)

Before we begin, let's dive into how CIAM is a crucial application component today. (If you‘re already convinced CIAM is the right fit for you, go forth and heed our recipes!)

What is CIAM?

CIAM is an approach to consumer access that manages a critical balancing act for users and brands — eliminating friction for known users (and loyal members) while keeping bad actors and fraudulent activity off your platform. 

Many organizations are also juggling multiple channels and integrations necessary to find a brand’s holy grail — a 360-degree view of their customer.

Why is this important? With a centralized user profile, organizations can promote better security because they know who’s accessing their application, eliminate silos, and close in on platform gaps that leave brands vulnerable to fraud.

CIAM helps you define a central user profile from which you can securely tack on any number of integrations you may use in your business daily.

Several CIAM solutions on the market cover a host of security and marketing use cases that could be common or necessary for your business.

Do I really need CIAM (aka *more software*)?

You built an app, and your app went viral. That's awesome!

Once you go viral, the holistic customer profile challenge can become all the more steep because, when user activity volume increases, it can be hard to tell who's a real customer and who’s a potential bot deployed to defraud you and your customers.

Your customers now also expect more fun and secure ways to engage with your brand, and CIAM supports UX with clear and friendly communication from your brand when it benefits users to sign in or sign up to access your products and services.

With that, your application gets two new and conflicting missions: reduce app friction to bring even more customers in (aka improve UX) while bolstering security to keep your consumers safe and private, prevent breaches, and even bring B2B contracts.

Organizations can leverage CIAM to learn more about their own or another brand’s (like a partner’s) customer profile and promote good data hygiene with deduplication and unification of Customer Identity for your teams

CIAM is also shown to decrease friction at checkout and, in the case of Auth0 by Okta, cut down on bad bot activity by ~79%.

CIAM solutions range from basic to advanced, but, at the core, CIAM is the front door of your brand, with different ways of addressing authentication alongside varying degrees of fraud prevention software.

Brands that are expanding their businesses get the following benefits from CIAM:

  1. Seamless integration with your second- or third-party services,
  2. Manage the risks of incorporating those services into your channels,
  3. Address more complexity in the user journey.

With CIAM, you can convert more legitimate users faster because you’ve made it easier for them to sign up, log in, and self-service common account operations.  You’re safeguarding your customers from fraudulent activity and enabling your teams to maintain a sanitized customer profile.

How does this CIAM thing work, then?

That's where our recipes come in! Each recipe explores a real scenario and how CIAM can help.

In the next post, we’ll explore our first recipe: Prevent fraudulent sign-ups and account takeovers. And to get all the recipes in the same place, download our cookbook.