To build or to buy? That’s the big CIAM question

To build or to buy? That’s the big CIAM question

How to know whether to build or buy a Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solution.

Not all software solutions are born equal. Some make sense to build from scratch, while others are best bought off the shelf. Even within the same software, it can suit different needs for different organisations. Before deciding whether to build or buy, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

In this post, we will talk through different criteria and scenarios to consider, when looking into a Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solution for your organisation.

Companies, in particular those with an in-house IT department, are likely to look into the “do-it-yourself” (DIY) route, as the assumption is that it gives them more control and autonomy over the software. And while that can be true for many solutions, CIAM requires a level of complexity that may not make it feasible as an in-house product. 

The very nature of CIAM technology means that protecting customer and company data is at the forefront of it all, alongside providing a seamless journey through login processes. Multifactor authentication through CIAM is an increasingly vital component of the many security layers a company should have in place to prevent data breaches that can damage a business’ reputation. In short, this is not something to cut corners or skimp on.

Deciding whether to build or buy a solution like this requires a lot of due diligence. Consider this your cheat sheet to figure out which option is best for you. 


Key things to keep in mind when looking at CIAM solutions:

1. Security and data compliance

News headlines about data breaches are an almost daily occurrence these days and companies have the obligation to protect themselves and their customers’ data from cyber attacks. 

In addition to this, businesses have to keep up to date with compliance and regulatory requirements, as well as the pace of technology innovations to ensure their customers (and themselves) don’t get left behind, potentially exposed to breaches. Do you have the in-house capability to keep on top of all of this? Do you have the required expert knowledge in-house to ensure continued compliance and guarantee the security of data, in a world with an ever-evolving data privacy landscape?

2. Cost

When looking into building your own CIAM solution, it may appear cheaper to do in-house rather than buy it from a software provider. However, the cost begins to ramp up when you look into the development and integration into existing technologies – not just now but also in the future. Over the long term, there are also upgrade costs that need to be taken into consideration.

3. Future-proofing your CIAM solution – and your business 

The nature of data privacy means that a CIAM solution will require upgrades to ensure functionality and compliance. These solutions are here to stay and will become more and more an integral part of the digital customer experience. Does your in-house IT department have the expertise to keep up with the complexity of this evolving landscape and ensure the data security of your company and your customers?

Building a CIAM solution that is tailored to your customers’ needs is no easy feat – and it’s not cheap either. Technology built in-house will often cost a lot to maintain over time, compared to a solution delivered by a partner. This is particularly true in the case of CIAM, as it requires a complex infrastructure and highly-skilled developers to maintain secure code that is scalable, safe, and on 24x7x365. 

Ultimately, you’ve got to be comfortable with taking on a large amount of risk. Ensuring your CIAM system is not just always on, working seamlessly and integrated with every other business platform, but also keeping everyone safe in case of targeted attacks requires a high level of very specific expertise that not many internal IT departments possess. 


Buying a CIAM solution doesn’t just get you the software: it gets you seamless login systems, branded to suit your business, as well as experienced, trusted advisors who will navigate any changes alongside you. It also means the responsibility for updates to keep everyone secure and safe are not on you, allowing you to focus on growing your core business.



Fill in your details and download the full 45 page CIAM for Dummies guide by ClearPoint partner Okta – packed with the essentials that enable you and your organisation to get the best out of a CIAM provider.

  • Featuring eight easy-to-digest chapters that provide you with everything you need to get started with CIAM
  • Understand why CIAM matters more than ever in a customer-first world
  • Case studies and useful examples
  • In-depth guidance on features and benefits that meet the needs of your business
  • Insights into the tools your team wants

Want to provide a seamless digital experience for your customers and colleagues? Talk to our team about selecting the best solution provider for your business and gain insight into CIAM solutions. 

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