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Key terms and
definitions for CIAM


Adaptive Access Controls

Adaptive access controls assist in gauging the level of security needed for users to sign in to your services. They assess factors like user location, known devices, and any unusual behaviors that might warrant an extra security step for verification.

For example, an ordinary login from a user's home computer is deemed safe, allowing them to proceed effortlessly with access. But, if something seems off, like a login attempt from a different country and device on the same day, instead of a complete denial, adaptive access controls initiate additional security measures like sending a verification code to their mobile phone to verify their identity.

The key advantage of adaptive access controls is their ability to dynamically respond to deviations in user behavior. This flexibility ensures that the security measures adapt to specific circumstances without interrupting the user experience, delivering a secure and user-friendly service.


Authentication is proving you are who you say you are in the digital world. It's the way you verify your identity online.

It's like showing your ID to confirm your identity in the physical world, but this time it happens online. In the digital realm, you rely on various methods for authentication. These include passwords, biometrics (like fingerprint or facial recognition), one-time passwords (OTPs), and unique links. These methods serve as evidence that you are the legitimate user trying to access an account or service.

By implementing effective authentication measures, you establish a first line of defense to protect your business and its customers.


Authorization for customer users involves granting permission or access rights for specific actions or resources within an application or online service. It is the process of determining what actions or data a user is allowed to access based on their identity and permissions.

Think of authorization as the gatekeeper that determines who gets access to what within a system. Take a university, for instance; they might grant students full access to current courses and financial details but limit alumni to viewing only their transcripts.

But here's the kicker – it's not just businesses that do the authorizing. Customers also have a say. Picture this: you log into a website to buy a new gadget. Suddenly, a pop-up asks if you want to store your payment info for future buys. By giving your nod to this authorization request, you're letting the site store and use your details when needed, making your next checkout a breeze.

In an ever-evolving digital landscape, getting authorization right is key. By nailing down your authorization protocols, you streamline operations, boost security, and keep your users content and loyal.


Consent Management

Consent management is foundational to customer identity and access management as it allows customers to determine what personal data they are willing to share with your business. In return, you're able to offer personalized and differentiated services.

When it comes to consent management, simplicity is key. You present your users with a simple and straightforward consent form that clearly explains how their data will be used. It should be a no-brainer for them to grant, deny, or even revoke access to their personal info whenever they want.

By respecting user preferences, maintaining transparent communication, and addressing evolving privacy regulations, you can enhance customer relationships while mitigating risks.

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)

Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is the name of a category of commercial software solutions that allow organizations to enable their customers to sign up for and sign in to their online accounts across digital channels. CIAM solutions also help organizations secure, manage, and personalize customers’ online experiences throughout their lifecycle — from acquisition through retention.

CIAM solutions simplify the way customers sign up, log in, and manage their accounts. They tackle the essentials like registration, identity verification, authentication, authorization, consent management, self-service account management, and even include fraud detection mechanisms to keep things in check.

It's all about the customer. CIAM can help you boost conversion rates, gain a deeper understanding of who customers are, and provide top-notch protection for both them and your business.


Data Residency

Data residency is all about keeping customer data in a specific country or region to comply with regulatory data privacy requirements.

Different countries have different regulations and laws regarding data privacy, like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). To comply with these regulations, companies need to keep customer data within a specific country or region. It's like making sure your data has its own cozy little home, complete with a white picket fence and all that jazz. This data residency thing is all about staying on the right side of the law and making sure that sensitive customer info stays close to home.

That's where a CIAM solution comes into play. They can help make compliance easier by storing and managing customer data within a region, and also create more opportunities to build customer trust by giving customers more control over their data with consent management options.

Digital Identity

Digital identity is a set of information that proves who someone is on the internet.

Just like your physical ID card has your personal info, digital identities include: usernames, passwords, personal identifiable information (PII) such as birthday, phone number, address and even biometric information. All of these pieces of information (aka attributes) need to be easy to collect in order to provide personalized access to services, but also well-protected in order to prevent identity theft.


Fraud Detection

Fraud detection is the proactive effort to identify deceitful activities before fraud is committed.

For instance, in the world of online transactions ... secure passwords, multi-factor authentication, and passwordless authentication act as fraud prevention methods. You can also add an extra layer of protection by monitoring user behavior. If anything looks suspicious, you can prompt users to provide additional information that will help prove their identity.

These types of safeguards help prevent unauthorized access and protect against scams before they can cause any harm.


Identity Analytics

Identity analytics examine customer identity and behavior patterns to gain insights for improving user sign-in experiences, personalization and security.

With identity analytics, you can make informed decisions about how to meet the evolving needs of your users.

For instance, conducting A/B testing, analyzing failed login attempts and new account abandonment rates can help determine the most effective login flow or identify areas where users encounter difficulties and insights about why.

Identity as a Service (IDaaS)

Identity as a Service (IDaaS) is an identity and access management solution delivered as a cloud service.

These solutions are designed to simplify the complexities associated with identity management, authentication and authorization use cases. Benefits of IDaaS include improved security to cost savings and user experience improvements.

While both IDaaS and CIAM involve managing identities and access to digital resources, IDaaS is a broader category that encompasses identity management for both internal and external users, whereas CIAM specifically focuses on customer identity management for online services and applications.