IAM or Identity and Access Management control what employees can do and cannot do ensuring that the company systems are not accessible to any third parties.

CIAM or Consumer/Customer Identity and Access Management manage the external identities like customers, contractors, partners, things or even citizens.

User experience

IAM tool and system essentially need user experience but not as much as in a CIAM system. This is because the personnel usually works on what they are told and use the system the company provides to them and are trained to do so.

On the other hand, user experience for customers is a must as it is one of the key factors in the digital businesses of today. If you deliver a bad UX then your customers are left unsatisfied and they interact with another service provider and taking their money, your earning with them.

Platform flexibility

Another major distinction between IAM and CIAM is in how both the environments are being treated. In an enterprise IAM, the transitions to the system are slower and they are quite inflexible as well. It is not common for such high end systems to constantly keep up with the recent trends and integrate with every new technology.

On the other hand, if your system features are updated on a regular basis, it can be a way to stand out from the rest of the competitors in the market. Strong enterprise IAM solutions are not meant for such demands but CIAM must be enabled to make such quick transitions with the help of simple configurations.


This is a huge distinction between IAM and CIAM. For company of any size, the number of employees seldom aligns with the potential number of consumers. For instance, a customer facing solution may have millions of users but they are nowhere near to such number of employees. Hence the scalability needs for IAM and CIAM solutions may differ greatly. Making the most of the IAM solution for third party with quite high number of users is a bad idea as IAM would not be able to scale to meet such requirements.

Identity managements

The internal IAM is run by the HR team and the number of identities doesn’t fluctuate.

When it comes to comparing with an external system where the number of users keeps increasing and you need to effectively manage these identities, this is an important step. CIAM is meant to determine who is accessing your online services, which role they are up to, which company they belong to without any external effort.