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What Is An Identity Provider, And Why do Companies Need One?

What Is An Identity Provider, And Why do Companies Need One?
Hamid Echarkaoui

Hamid Echarkaoui

CEO & Co-founder @ Cryptr

Learn what an identity provider is, how it works, and why it should be used for the safety of companies and their employees

Identity Provider or IdP is something that’s present in our everyday life. Whenever a user login into a new website with their already existing credentials, it takes place with the assistance of a reliable Identity Provider.

 

Now, why is an Identity provider good for you? Businesses can get swamped with several daily tasks, which can be time-consuming. However, they can make their tasks easier with the help of IdP. 

 

There is a plethora of identity management approaches in businesses to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape. One of such approaches includes addressing the problems with the tools already present. However, it can be quite tricky for organizations in terms of IAM or identity and access management.  

 

That’s one more reason for businesses to tag along with identity providers when it comes to strategizing their identity management situations in this modern era. It’s beneficial for both end users and businesses. Furthermore, it can be easier to maintain as well. 

 

Several IAM software helps provide appropriate access to resources in different technology environments. As per reports, OpenID Connect led has around 53%market share in 2021, followed by Okta having 2.31% and Microsoft Azure Active Directory having 4.51% share.

Let’s learn more about what identity providers are, how they work and benefit, and what some of the most popular IdPs are.

What is an Identity Provider? 

An identity provider refers to a third-party company or software that stores and verifies user identity. It manages all the digital identities and is a cloud-hosted service working mostly through SSO or single sign-on providers for authenticating the end users.

After getting the consent of the users, the IdP provides authentication services to third-party apps, webs, or other such digital services. It helps access to third-party service providers without actually shuttering the login details of the end user. 

IdP is beneficial for employees to connect with their required sources effortlessly within companies. They offer a way to add or remove privileges, manage access and get login access without any security breaches. 

For example, when you use Facebook or Google login to access another application or website login, you’ve already used the IdP functions. These credentials can lead to access to another resource without adding a password or username yourself. 

However, Identity providers aren’t just used for identifying human users. It also verifies other entities that are connected to a system or a network. Examples of such entities can be computers or other such devices. Often, IdP is useful for managing user identities in cloud computing. 

Hence, we can say that Identity Provider refers to a trusted system used to authenticate users and provide access to other websites, applications, or digital resources.

What is the Work Process of Identity Providers?

Identity Providers use specific languages like OAuth and SAML to communicate and send XML Assertions which helps to authenticate and authorize users. There are 3 types of XLM Assertions that IdPs send, which include Authentication Assertion, Attribute Assertion and Authorization Assertion. 

Authentication Assertion: In this assertion, the IdP asserts the user identity to understand if the users are actually who they claim to be.

Attribute Assertion: Here, IdP passes the attributes of user identity to connect

Authorization: This allows users to access the resources or service.

To put it simply, the workflow of IdP is as follows:

Sending requests: The users can send the request by entering the credentials using another login such as Facebook, Google, or Twitter. 

Verifying request: Then, the IdP verifies the IT and determines if the user has access to the resource and checks if they have authority to use it.

Unlocking resources: The IdP then provides access to the specified resources so that users can log into it without entering any password or other additional credentials.

This process takes only seconds. However, users aren’t aware of the hard work that keeps happening behind the screens. 

Why do Companies Need to Implement it to Manage the Authentication of Their Employees? 

Identity Providers can solve multiple problems for companies when it comes to managing authentication of the employees. From security to convenience, IdP provide exceptional benefits. Some of the major benefits include:

  1. Lowering memory burden

Think of IdP as a passwordless way of logging in to different resources. It’s not exactly passwordless. However, when you are logging in using another platform’s credentials, you don’t have to remember multiple passwords. Similarly, it helps employees easily access the resources without remembering the passwords. 

When employees have to remember passwords, there can be more security risks. They may enter the passwords on spreadsheets, notes, or papers to ensure they do not forget them. However, if the data falls into the wrong hands, it may lead to security issues. IdP can lower the stress of employees remembering their passwords. 

  1. Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity

Most companies have multiple accounts that can be used on multiple devices. It can get quite difficult for the employees to manage all the details efficiently. They will have the burden of using different passwords on different platforms, which can even decrease productivity. IdP can help with it and maintain such crucial parts so that employees will work more efficiently.

  1. Simplified Problem-Solving Process 

Knowing the perpetrator is crucial if something goes wrong or someone makes a mistake. Businesses need to solve any issues that arise, and knowing who led to the issue makes it easier to understand where it went wrong. IdP helps identify who was online and what they did to make things messy. That way, it becomes easier for businesses to solve problems and eliminate any threats.

  1. Integrated Database

It’s better for companies to have a single version to access all the resources. If different employees log in using different methods, things can become complicated. Companies may not be able to get a clear picture of how to access the resources. IdP enables users to log in using only one login data everywhere. 

For example—employees can use the Google login at all third-party websites or resources. Tracking and getting access to all the resources will then become easier for companies as they will be able to get access using the same Google login method.

There are many other solutions that Identity providers offer to companies that differ from business-to-business. It leads to better workforce authentication. Want to know what workforce authentication is. Check below.

Definition of Workforce Authentication

Workforce authentication refers to the process where companies provide the employee access to the organizational features or resources. It requires using some sort of proof to access the organization’s piece of information or resources. 

In workforce authentication, employees can have credentials connected to digital identity. If the credentials match, the employees will get access to the system. 

Modern companies need to verify that users, devices, applications, and data flow work efficiently. All the access needs to be authenticated for security purposes. That’s where workforce authentication comes into use. There are several IdPs useful for workforce authentication. Let’s discuss some of the popular ones.

Popular IdPs You Can Find in 2022

Let’s discuss some of the famous IdPs used globally for better verification and authentication approaches.

  1. Okta

One of the leading identity and access management providers is Okta. They offer cloud-based services available with a range of on-premise applications. Ten thousand+ organizations use these IdPs solutions to manage their workforce authentication effectively. 

Okta provides secure and intelligent access to the workforce resources using certain multi-factor or single sign-on authentication. The Identity Providers services by Okta enable users to register or login into several resources using a seamless authentication process.

Okta has around 5,030 employees as of January 2022. In addition, their Market Capitalization last month was $13.8 B. They are based in San Francisco, Ca, UA.

  1. Ping Identity

Ping Identity provides effective identity security for organizations. It has an intelligent identity platform that includes MFA (multi-factor authentication) and SSO (single sign-on). It’s an effective IdP that helps companies balance user experience and security for customers and the workforce. 

This IdP helps companies to build secure and better experiences for employees. It provides better identity management without compromising on ease of use and convenience. Hence, it enables easy integration with several options to align the identity with the resources and requirements. 

Ping Identity had a market capitalization of $1.6 B last month with the revenue of $299.4 M in 2021. The company is situated in Denver, CO, US, and had around 1,247 employees in December 2021. 

  1. OneLogin

OneLogin is a secure SSO that integrates users’ endpoint devices. It provides access to multiple application logins. The shared login feature of this IdP is also beneficial for workforce authentication. 

OneLogin is easy to access and provides ease of protecting data and access. It’s a web-based service that helps with identity management and SSO for cloud-based applications. 

OneLogin is based in San Francisco, California. It had around 260 employees and $50.2 Million in 2019.

  1. ForgeRock 

ForgeRock is an IdP that provides identity platforms to help companies, brands, enterprises, and government entities worldwide to build secure relationships across different apps, things, or devices. 

They help users to online identities with ease and convenience. It helps companies improve and scale their identity management strategies with different use cases, including employees, partners, customers, or devices. 

ForgeRock had a revenue of about $127.6 M in 2021. In addition, the company had 758 employees in June 2021 and is based in San Francisco, California, USA. 

  1. HID Global

HID Global provides effective identity management solutions, especially to large-scale companies. They are used globally for smart authentication procedures and effective IdP services. They even provide a tailored approach to cyber security and have sophisticated technology. 

Several companies, such as HP, Airbus, Verizon, Nissan, etc., adopt HID Global services for IdP and other authentication management services.

HID Global is based in Austin, Texas, and has more than 3000 employees across the globe. In addition, their revenue is $614.

Conclusion

Identity Providers can help to verify user identity and provide authentication to log in using that on a third-party application, website, or service. They are based on advanced technology that offers safety without any friction. Identity Providers can be highly beneficial for companies. It helps ease the authentication process and comes with long-term benefits for businesses. 

In addition, a Robust IdP solution can help integrate the authentication process for multiple resources without any hassle. It also assists in handling the complexities of authenticating and storing identities in this present technological world.

In short, it simplifies the login process for users, which is highly beneficial for employees and workforce authentication. 

So, ready to learn more about Identity Provider and SSO? We tell you more at Cryptr!

Cryptr users management As A Service offers a modern approach to handle end-users authentication security for web and mobile applications.

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