Protect with CIAM security

Perhaps your company already has an app users log in to so they can purchase goods, schedule services or access content. Maybe you have a great idea and are working on developing an app for your potential customers (including B2C and B2B scenarios). Whether your business is firmly established, or you are just starting out, you need to make thousands of decisions about your company app: the look and feel, the navigational structure, ease of use, adaptability, responsiveness, etc. You might have a team of developers working on your app or you are simply looking at modifying many of the templates that are available nowadays. No matter what, all these apps have certain functionality in common: they need some way for new customers to register and they need a secure way for these customers to log in.

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions are here to help solve these problems.

CIAM security can provide:

  1. A simple and secure registration flow

  2. Out-of-the-box Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) options

  3. A Passwordless login flow

  1. A Simple and Secure Registration Flow

    A customer’s introduction to your application is often a registration process. You need to ensure that the process is efficient, seamless and secure so that you don’t lose your customers along the way. This might mean ensuring that you are collecting only the minimum amount of information you require from your users, so they don’t get bogged down in filling out long forms, or it could mean that you need to verify their identity first to make sure some bad actor isn’t trying to impersonate them.

    A CIAM solution can be configured to require as many or as few pieces of information about your customers as you wish to gather. This information can be stored within the cloud directory hosted by the CIAM solution or can be replicated to your own databases as necessary. Thus, you can utilize the CIAM solution as the source of truth when it comes to customer personal information and be assured that this data is always secured.  

    You can even enable your users to log in with credentials they have already created in other systems, such as Google or Facebook (also known as social sign ins). CIAM solutions often provide integrations with existing social networks so that users don’t have to keep creating new sets of credentials for all the various apps they might use throughout their day. How relieved are you when you find you can register with a new site by just clicking on a button for Facebook or LinkedIn instead of having to fill out yet another form and come up with yet another password?

    Finally, many CIAM solutions have integrations with Identity Verifications systems. These systems can require that customers prove they are who they say they are before they are able to register with the app. By utilizing a CIAM solution, you can offload developing these types of integrations and be assured that the CIAM provider will keep them up for you.

  2. Out-Of-The-Box Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Options

    Thousands upon thousands of apps out there only require a username and password to get in. Hackers know this and have taken advantage of this login flow to find ways to get into users’ accounts. They use various brute force attacks that try to figure out the user’s password to get in. And once they have confirmed that a particular set of credentials works for one app, they will try that same set of credentials on other apps, knowing that consumers often reuse credentials across multiple applications to make it easier to remember them all.

    Requiring users to provide an additional authentication factor, i.e., implementing MFA, is one of the simplest ways to increase the security of your user login flow. Which authentication factor options you provide to your users can be difficult to decide on. Email is an option that is often easier for a developer to implement, but it can make the authentication flow more painful for the user because there is often a delay. It’s sadly not uncommon for users to have to provide a code they are supposed to receive in an email, be faced with a time limit within which they must provide that code and, because of a delay in receiving the email, miss the time limit and have to re-request the code.

    There are quite a few other options out there that can be used for authentication factors: SMS, mobile applications, biometric scanners, etc. You can save both time and money by taking advantage of the authentication factors a CIAM security provides. CIAM security allows your developers to concentrate on supporting your business needs instead of spending their time trying to keep up to date on the various authentication options you want to support. Choose the authentication options that will be easiest or most secure for your users without worrying about how difficult they might be to integrate and maintain within your application. Let a third-party CIAM solution handle that part.

  3. A Passwordless Login Flow

    As we have already discussed, login flows that only require a username and password are inherently vulnerable to hacker attacks. Providing an additional authentication factor can help solve this issue, but it means that it will take longer for your customers to log in. A passwordless login flow requires users to provide a different authentication factor, such as a code from a mobile authenticator application. If you implement a passwordless login flow, you can prevent password-based hacker attempts, as well as ensure that your customers can log in quickly and painlessly.

    Once again, you could have your own developers work on how to set this up, but you will be faced with the same issues as supporting additional authentication factors (configuring and maintaining these integrations).

    A strong CIAM security solution will provide you with a passwordless login flow option, as well as a simple means for your customers to register their authentication factor during their registration process. Thus, you can ensure that your customers can have both a simple and secure login experience.


As more organizations realize the importance of having some sort of online application to meet the needs of their customers, it has become easier to build these applications. You don’t even need much technical knowledge to put up a simple ecommerce site. However, as companies concentrate on developing their applications to make their customers’ experiences better and increase their bottom line, they have not always been focusing on securing these applications. The threat actors out there have taken advantage of this security gap and have managed to streamline their hacking attempts so that no app is safe anymore. Everyone must ensure that their customers can log in securely and that their data is kept safe. Developers can no longer rely upon simple login forms that require a username and password. They need more robust, secure options that include social sign in, multi-factor authentication or even passwordless login flows. They need to investigate CIAM security solutions that can provide these features and still ensure that their customers can log in securely and easily.

About the Author

Alicia Townsend

For almost 40 years, Alicia Townsend has been working with technology as both a consultant and a trainer. She has a passion for empowering others to use technology to make their lives easier. As Director of Content and Documentation at OneLogin, Ms. Townsend works with technical writers, trainers and content marketing writers to inspire and empower everyone to take advantage of what OneLogin’s platform has to offer them.

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