Reasons to Use Auth0 for Authentication in Your Application
Implementing authentication and authorization is the issue that developers face constantly in their work days. And they should create a system which will provide the best user experience. Previously, the process was somewhat tedious for users: they had to come up with a username and password, enter the email, and so on. Now, when this function is often delegated to third-party services, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc, everything has become extremely simple: you choose your favorite social network and log-in with its help, and that's it. Quite easy, right? Yes, if you are just a user… but if you are interested in developing applications, you need to find the most effective way to add authentication to your app.
We suggest using Auth0 for these purposes because this solution is both convenient and profitable. If you are not ready to take our word for it, devote a moment to read our article. We’ll do our best to persuade you and reveal all details of implementing auth in modern apps.
Authentication vs. Authorization
First of all, let's figure out what "authentication" and "authorization" are, and how these concepts differ. After all, if you want to find the best way to implement modern authentication and authorization systems, you should understand what is what, so to say, learn the ropes.
In fact, authentication is designed to verify your identity. When you log-in to the application using a name and password, you authenticate. On the other hand, authorization checks whether you have access to a specific resource; it can be a set of permissions to perform some actions.
Problem with Authentication and Authorization
Everyone is aware of the standard authentication in the application: the user enters his email, password, etc. Then these data are being compared with those that have already been saved. When the data matches, the user is granted access.
Happily, today there are a great many other methods with modern authentication features.
We will not consider all the ways of implementing authentication, but only those that are most relevant and modern. In the end, why repeat what has already been outdated and become part of the past?
Session- & Cookie-Based Authentication
Here, we have cookies (or sessions) - the very place where we're going to store data about the user (data which will become the basis to grant access to a particular resource).
Cookie-based authentication differs from the second one in that there is no danger to overload the server because the cookie with the authentication record is being stored by the user himself, on his (her) side. Alas, the session does not offer such an advantage: the cookie has only a special identifier to access the authorization information (which the server has in a special unique file).
Cookies are considered more unreliable (they can be stolen, and an attacker will have access to personal data). On the other hand, the session is very short-lived, and, most importantly, the data file is stored on the server, which can lead to its overload while the project is scaling.
By the by, the cookie-based authentication approach is being also used to implement the Single Sign On (SSO) method. The SSO method is really helpful if a company with several services wants to add authentication and greatly simplify the entire process.
A good example is Google with its Gmail, YouTube, etc. Thanks to Google Accounts, a powerful coordinating center, the user automatically gets access to all the company's services. And for this purpose, the cookies are being used - they store the verification data.
Using Tokens to Implement Modern Authentication
Do you want to avoid overloading we’ve mentioned earlier and other problems described above? Then there is a good alternative - the use of tokens, temporary pointers to the site or application you need. This pointer, obtained with the help of the authentication service, is a confirmation that the user has the right to visit the indicated resource (if the authorization data turned out to be correct).
We'll not go into all the details, let's just say that the token-based technique allows you to improve and scale the site (application), the server is not being overloaded with unnecessary information.
Now we’re talking about the way to configure the authentication procedure without entering passwords. The user enters the email or phone number and receives a letter with the one-time link or an SMS with the code, respectively.
Touch ID can also be used if you want to take advantage of passwordless authentication (though, the method is only available on Apple devices).
Social Network Authentication
Now, we’re talking about Social sign-in or Social Login. Formally, the Social Authentication is a kind of SSO method with simplification of the process of registering/logging in to your application.
Users can access your application with a single touch if they have an account in one of the social networks, which greatly improves the user experience. And developers do not have to worry about the security of user data and think about verifying email addresses - social networks have already done this job.
Before approaching the question of the way to implement modern authentication service, it is necessary to mention multi-factor authentication which improves access security by taking advantage of a few methods of verifying the user identity.
Multi-factor authentication examples include Google, Facebook, and other wide-known resources. A user must first enter his login and password, and then he gets a one-time password (or verification code) sent via email (or SMS).
Such an algorithm is needed to ensure maximum data security. In most cases, social network authentication is just enough.
Why Auth0 is a Right Solution for Social Authentication
There are a lot of social networks: Google, Facebook, Twitter. And all these services provide their own systems of authentication and authentication.
To avoid the need to add authentication for each option separately, you should find convenient solutions which will simplify the whole process.
For this, the start-up Auth0 was launched, which immediately attracted $ 15 million of investment.
As Jon Gelsey, the former CEO of the company, said, the integration of the site and the mobile application with various logging services can cause many problems and increase the number of potential risks to data security. And Auth0 is designed to help developers solve this problem by implementing an authentication service with the best features set.
You, too, can take advantage of the described solution and add authentication to your app. Why should you choose this very service? We’ll try to argue our position in detail.
What is Auth0?
Auth0 is a secure and universal service which ensures authentication and authorization functionality. It works on the basis of tokens we’ve talked about and uses different identity providers. It fits a number of platforms including social networks. So, the system is perfect if you need to add social authentication to apps.
Besides, developers are satisfied with the choice provided: it is possible to use both native SDK social services and Safari as an application that processes user accounts and the login flow. Based on the operating system browser, you can use special security app features to prevent identity theft.
A couple of lines of history
In total, Auth0 has already attracted more than 24 million investments. One of the last stages of investment was led by Trinity Ventures, with the partial participation of Bessemer Venture Partners, K9 Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. All the names are impressive and convey respect for this great authentication service.
Initially, Auth0 was not too different from its competitors. However, over time, the startup managed to improve its security system and supplemented the functionality with new excellent features. So today Auth0 is one of the biggest platforms for implementing auth in modern apps. The company has about 75,000 clients including Telkomsel, Dow Jones, CenturyLink.
And, by the way, in 2018, Auth0 was awarded annual prize by Cyber Defense Magazine (in the Identity and Access Management section).
Key Benefits of Auth0
Let’s list the main benefits of using Auth0 for adding authentication to your app.
We should start with the most important thing.
The security of user data is, without a doubt, a stumbling block when it comes to authentication services. Fortunately, Auth0 has solved this problem.
Auth0 security is provided by the OAuth 2.0 authentication protocol which allows the application to grant access rights to the user's resources on another service. The protocol eliminates the need to trust the login and password to the app. Also, you can give a limited set of access rights (instead of full one) at will.
By the way, in order to further improve security, Auth0 introduced a new feature - push notifications to the user in cases when his password was used on another site he had not previously visited. So he can quickly change it if there is such a need.
As you see, you can take advantage of Auth0 to add social authentication to apps and be sure of the security of your users (and therefore the positive user experience).
#2. UI options
Auth0 provides the ability to use both built-in and custom UI.
It means that when developing your own iOS or Android application, you can choose one of the following login flows: native or browser-based.
When taking advantage of a browser-based UI, the user is being redirected to the Auth0 login page. In the second option (native login flow), the user registration process takes place in the application itself.
Which option to choose for implementing auth in modern apps? Both have their pros and cons.
On the one hand, using browser-based flows reduces the execution time, since all data is being processed on the login page (including multi-factor authentication and anomaly detection). On the other hand, the native UI is more unique.
So feel free to choose what you want, Auth0 supports both options.
#3. Auth0 Analytics
Auth0 offers effective tools to track users on a website or in an application. Integration Auth0 Analytics allows capturing and measuring specific events, such as:
- the number of new and existing users;
- the number of users registered in each application;
- in-app login activity in the past year;
- the number of new registrations during the current day;
- logins and new registrations during the last week;
- identity providers used to log-in to the application.
Auth0 Analytics provides this data using simple visual graphs and offers the feature to filter reports for more accurate information.
All this information about user activity is undoubtedly important, and every company would be glad to take advantage of it to increase the profitability of its application. So Auth0 offers not only modern authentication as a service but also tools to plan the future scaling of the project.
We’ve already mentioned the biggest benefits of using Auth0 to add authentication to your app, but there are others, such as:
- a huge number of social networks which Auth0 supports;
- detailed documentation and clear code examples in popular programming languages;
- libraries with a large number of technologies;
- quality API;
- a wide range of settings.
Summarizing, let's say: Auth0 ensures increased security for the user and provides a convenient tool with high-quality functionality which developers need. In addition, the Auth0 administration panel is ergonomic, intuitive and offers a lot of settings which the app admin’ll find helpful. So, such a service with a great set of modern authentication features will satisfy your wishes and needs.
Other Tools for Social Authentication and Authorization
We believe that using Auth0 to add authentication to your app is the optimal and most advantageous solution, but it would be wrong not to mention other options.
Passport is used to manage sessions and supports authorization with a significant number of services including social networks.
Passport offers a choice of different authentication mechanisms for implementing auth in modern apps. You can authenticate using a local/remote database object instance or take advantage of single sign-on through OAuth provided by different social networks. And it is also possible to select the desired provider from the list offered by the system. All of them support Passport authentication and provide the host module.
Keycloak is an open-source authentication service from JBoss. It uses the specifications of OAuth 2.0, Open ID Connect, JSON Web Token (JWT) and SAML 2.0.
The list of KeyCloak features is big enough and supports SSO, Social Login, integration with LDAP servers, user management and much more.
Okta is an independent provider of services which help manage user accounts. Among other things, it offers solutions for adding authentication to your app.
Also, Okta Identity Cloud allows security professionals to automatically reset passwords, change access rights and stop suspicious user sessions.
Centrify aims to simplify the administration of a variety of mobile devices and applications (which work in conjunction).
Centrify offers unified identity management in networks which support multiple mobile devices and applications. The idea is to provide end-users with one-time registration and give administrators a single management interface.
So, it would seem, all these services are not that bad, so why not use one of them to add authentication to your app?
Of course, we're not going to discourage you: use them if you want to. But still, you need to find the perfect solution (as far as possible), and the systems described are substantially inferior to Auth0.
Auth0 provides the most extensive functionality to ensure the user authentication and authorization, with detailed analytics, a variety of available providers, and a diverse set of user-friendly tools the developer will really like. Passport, Keycloak, Okta, and Centrify significantly lose in comparison.
We, too, repeatedly faced with the need to add social authentication to apps in our practice. Naturally, we were looking for the optimal solution and we've found it - of course, we mean Auth0. We've chosen it because of its security, universality, and ease of use.
During the app development, we used 4 social services to log-in: Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn. All of them are supported by Auth0.
Our team quickly realized all the convenience of working with Auth0: after setting up the basic configurations of Auth0 on iOS and Android platforms, adding a new login element (say, a new social network) does not take much time. All you need to do is to configure the access parameters on the Auth0 administration panel and supplement code lines with the new authenticator for the corresponding element.
As you can see now, there are a lot of tools to add social authentication to apps. We’ve given you an example of a solution equally convenient for you and your users.