As interactions between organizations and consumers of goods and services increasingly happen online, the collection, protection, and management of consumer information has become increasingly important and challenging.

In response, we have seen the emergence of Consumer Identity and Access Management solutions as organizations seek greater efficiencies and capabilities in dealing with customer information to deliver innovative services, engage with consumers, and build brand loyalty, while ensuring they operate within the confines of data protection regulations.

CIAM has developed as a specialized form of IAM and typically includes functionality for analyzing consumer behavior, collecting consent for using personal data, and integrating into CRM systems, connected devices such as smartphones, and marketing automation systems.

Unlike traditional workforce Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems, CIAM solutions need to deal with information from many sources and they must be able to manage potentially billions of identities and process potentially tens of billions of logins and transactions on a daily basis.

CIAM systems have a wide variety of uses for both private and public sector organizations. Beyond authentication and authorization, the data collected by these systems can be invaluable in terms of ensuring regulatory compliance, supporting marketing campaigns, hosting identity information, and improving the consumer or end user experience.

User experience is key in attracting and retaining customers, and CIAM systems are essential for supporting personalization of services and marketing, as well as helping organizations to find the right balance between ease of use and security to build brand loyalty and trust.

Advanced CIAM systems are now even providing account take over protection and integrating with identity proofing services to counteract account opening fraud.

CIAM is therefore becoming indispensable for a growing number of industries including media, finance, healthcare, and the public sector, where there is a growing use of CIAM for government-to-citizen identity management scenarios.

Any organization that is consumer facing should familiarize themselves with the CIAM solutions market and the business benefits that can be derived from effective and efficient management of consumer identities and access.

CIAM solutions can provide standards-based mechanisms for registering, authenticating, authorizing, and storing consumer identities, and usually offer identity and marketing analytics or APIs to extract more value from consumer business. CIAM is foundational, and an absolutely necessary component of digital transformation.

— John Tolbert, Director Cybersecurity Research, KuppingerCole.

Because we understand the importance of ­­­­­­­­CIAM and because we are committed to helping your business succeed, KuppingerCole has a great deal of content available in a variety of formats.


A good place to start learning more about CIAM and to get an overview of the CIAM solutions market and guidance on how to choose the CIAM product or service that best suits your needs is the recently published Leadership Compass on CIAM Platforms.

Moving on from there, there are several related Leadership Compasses to have a look at. These include the reports on: 

Identity verification is important in the context of CIAM, therefore it could be useful to familiarize yourself with vendors who support this requirement by having a look at his Leadership Compass on Providers of Verified Identity.

You may also find it useful to have a look at the Market Compass on Decentralized Identity: Blockchain ID & Self-Sovereign Identity Solutions, although this market currently does not address all aspects of CIAM.  

Guidance on questions to ask vendors, criteria to select your vendor and requirements for successful deployments can be found in this Buyer’s Compass on Consumer Identity and Access Management Solutions


If you would like to hear what our analysts and others have to say on the topic of CIAM, we have a variety of videos and recordings that include conversations about CIAM or presentations from past events by our analysts and partners.

This presentation on What Does It Take for a Complete CIAM Solution? provides a good overview of the topic.

Listen to this Analyst Chat on Consent Management Done Right to find out what Consent means for identity professionals, service providers or lawyers, and how to reconcile all those different views in modern IAM environments. 

Find out how powerful CIAM can be in transforming an organization to be successful in doing business online, have a look at this presentation from this year’s EIC on Building a robust CIAM foundation, fit for the dynamic financial market, this presentation on the Latest Developments in CIAM, and this panel discussion on How to improve customer IAM and CIAM.

The relevance and importance of CIAM is also discussed in the following video on the Trends, Innovations and Developments in the CIAM Market.

Discover how Integrating Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functions with CIAM can help business owners achieve the ROI they are looking for by watching this presentation on Modernizing the Customer Journey.

Learn about the role and approaches of Identity Verification in the context of CIAM and how this maps to the entire onboarding process as well as recurring authentication in this presentation on The Role of KYC for CIAM and Where Learning From KYC Will Help You in Getting Better in CIAM.

The service-oriented paradigm of the KuppingerCole Identity Fabric provides the perfect foundation for a steady evolution. This applies both to the CIAM system itself and to CIAM as a building block of a company-wide identity infrastructure. To learn more, have a look at this presentation on CIAM & the KuppingerCole Identity Fabric and this presentation entitled The Road to CIAM Success: Why an Identity Fabric Powers Digital Transformation.

Many organizations still view CIAM as an isolated system, but this ignores significant potential. To discover the range of opportunities that can be gained by converging CIAM into an overall IAM concept, watch this presentation on Convergence - Integrating CIAM into Enterprise Architectures.

Find out how to enable personalized and trusted experiences with consumers in this presentation entitled: Consumer IAM – The Building Blocks and this presentation on Customer Personalisation: Bridging CIAM and SSID.

Car maker, AUDI, has developed a worldwide digital ecosystem for its customers. Find out more by looking at this presentation on CIAM at AUDI - A Constant Transformation in a Worldwide Digital Ecosystem.

The appropriate management of consumer identities is of utmost importance. To learn more, have a look at this panel discussion on CIAM Strategy Best Practice and this presentation on CIAM Best Practices to Balance CX and Security.

For more CIAM-related video content, have a look at this presentation on Consumer-Focused Identity Management that explores how CIAM can deliver opportunities to build deep, engaging relationships with customers, and this presentation on the Five Pillars of Consumer IAM, which looks at the key CIAM components required to deliver deeper online relationships with consumers and turn customer data into valuable business insights.

For insights on the importance of customer experience, have a look at this presentation entitled CX as the core of any CIAM, look at this presentation on How Policy Based CIAM can improve the Customer Journey for examples of how to use new technologies to redefine the approach to customers, and find out what CIAM can deliver for your business by watching these presentations entitled: The Journey to CIAM Success and CIAM as a Building Block of an Online-Success Story.


Our analysts have written several blog posts on the topic of CIAM. Have a look at the list below and choose the most relevant topics.


Organizations have typically focused on using CIAM to collect, store, and analyze consumer data to create sales opportunities and inspire brand loyalty, but other potential business benefits are being overlooked. To find out more, have a look at this webinar on Consumer Identity Management Evolution.

For a discussion on how best to integrate information securely from across the organization to achieve a unified view of a customer, have a look at this webinar on Maximizing the Benefits of Customer Identity & Access Management.

Find out how the GDPR and CIAM can work together by having a look at this webinar entitled: Customer Identity Access Management (CIAM): Creating the Foundations for User Focused Digital Business, GDPR Compliant.

CIAM can be a market differentiator. Find out how, by watching this webinar on How Leading Brands Build Trust With CIAM.

Discover how to combine GDPR requirements with your future CIAM strategy and how IoT affects CIAM in this webinar entitled: Consumer Identity & Access Management (CIAM), Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Understand the business, technical, and regulatory challenges of CIAM and learn how identity orchestration can deliver competitive advantage in this webinar on An Agile Approach to CIAM.

For a discussion on how to ensure that applications, systems, and identities are cohesive and well-integrated to enable the company to provide a superior customer experience, have a look at this webinar on The Role of Customer Identity & Access Management in Digital Transformation. 

To learn more about the business challenges introduced by GDPR and PSD2, to discover how customer consent can be a business driver rather than a liability, and to understand the legal and compliance aspects of consent management,  have a look at this webinar entitled: Consent Lifecycle Management: Consumer IAM’s Core Capability? 

Given the widely varied level of trustworthiness of various customer-generated data, the importance of identity assurance increases dramatically. Depending on the industry and area of operation, integration with external assurance providers may even be an essential feature of your IAM infrastructure. For an in-depth discussion of these issues, have a look at this webinar on Knowing Your Customer Well: The Importance of Assurance and Identity Governance for CIAM.  

Staying with the topic of identity assurance, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased digital interaction. But this has increased the incidence of fraud during the account creation process. For a discussion on how  to tackle these challenges, have a look at this webinar entitled: Identity Verification: Why It Is Needed and How It Can Benefit the Business


Privacy regulations are changing the way organizations handle personal information and typically require the collection of consumer consent. As a result, many Consumer Identity platforms have added in consent management features. For a discussion of various approaches taken to address evolving business scenarios, have a look at this white paper on Technical Approaches to Consent Management and Dynamic Access Management

CIAM systems and services provide new technical capabilities for organizations to know their customers better. For a discussion on how Pirean’s solutions for IAM and CIAM can help companies deploy a single solution to meet both sets of business objectives, have a look this white paper on Orchestrated Identity for Meeting IAM & CIAM Requirements

Find out the impact of digital identities and CIAM in the digital age by reading this white paper entitled: How to Do Identity Right When Developing Digital Services and discover how concepts such as the Identity Fabric can support an intentional shift towards flexible and agile CIAM in this white paper on Serving the Customer in the Digital Age.

Tech Investment

Organizations investing in technologies to support CIAM, can have a look at some of the related technology solutions that we have evaluated: