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DevSecOps

What is an IdP (Identity Provider)? Meaning by Wallarm

What is an IdP (Identity Provider)? Meaning by Wallarm

Introduction

IDPs are used a lot these days to make it easy and safe for people to use a vast range of online services. These systems require a username and password, biometric data (like a fingerprint or iris scan), or a one-time code, among other things, in order to log in.

Two-factor & multi-factor authentication describe situations where the login process requires more than one piece of information. After that, users can access the connected services via the appropriate IDP.

In conjunction with SSO, one login to the IDP is sufficient for centralized authentication for numerous services or systems. The credentials are sent from the IDP to the individual services and systems using security protocols like SAML, which stands for Security Assertion Markup Language or OpenID or OAuth, which stands for (Open source identity provider) or (Open Authorization).

Learning Objectives

What Is an Identity Provider?

It is a digital service that helps a user set up and keep track of his or her digital identity and the different identifying factors that go with it. IdPs check the identities of users with external service providers (like websites, web apps, etc.) using these identities.

If a user already has an existing set of credentials for a different online service or application, they can use those credentials to sign up for and log into the service or application without having to create new credentials specifically for it.

Most of us have probably heard of Google, which is an identity provider. When we use the "Sign up with Google" or "Login with Google" buttons, Google is serving as the Identity Provider for the service we're accessing. Users may log in with their Google IDs to have access to the service and all of its features.

Other common IdPs include AWS (Amazon Web Services), Instagram, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.

Why Are IdPs Needed?

In today's market-driven society, integrating identity management is crucial. Using an identity provider is a fantastic way to give your customers a simple login option. So, they will only have to remember one set of login information to get into your website or online store, instead of having to log in each time.

In the real world, you need a photo ID from the government to prove who you are. Your identity, address, and other personal information must be verified using an official document.

On the other hand, these IDs do not function well online. Instead, users must have digital identities.

How Do Identity Providers Work?

It's easy to understand how identity providers work. The creation of a digital ID calls for specific details to be provided. A username and password, as well as a security question and a captcha, could be used. An electronic ID will be issued to you with this specific data. Users can get access to any service they need, like email and file storage, by using an IdP.

There are three primary phases in an IdP workflow:

  • Authentication: It involves requesting specific data from the user, like a password or fingerprint, in order to verify the distinctiveness of the handler
  • Verification: The identity provider checks the identifications of the user and decides whether or not the user is approved to use the system
  • Authorization: The authorization process regulates which resources a user has access to

Read more: Identification vs. Authentication vs. Verification

How Do Identity Providers Work?

Security Benefits of Using an Identity Provider

Identity providers are another important factor in ensuring the safety of your company. An identity provider's security advantages can be bolstered in a number of ways:

  • Robust KYC policy: A thorough Know Your Customer (KYC) policy can be put in place to guarantee that every customer's credentials are kept separate and secure. In this way, robust authentication can be used to confirm a user's identity in a number of ways 
  • Multi-factor authentication: By requiring several forms of authentication from account holders (both internal and external), you can rest assured that your data is safe from prying eyes. It may take a little longer, but this approach can be utilized to catch hackers red-handed
  • SSO: While multi-factor authentication (MFA) has its uses, many companies choose to use Single Sign-On (SSO) because of the many benefits it offers. Customers can access your services without having to re-enter their credentials each time

Identity Provider Vs Service Provider

IPs guarantee authentication method. It legalizes the handler and gives the service provider a proof token.

It either unswervingly authenticates the user by validating a username and PIN or indirectly by validating a different identity provider's statement about the user's identity. It achieves user IDs to liberate the service provider.

Whereas, an end-user facility provider is a union alliance. Usually, service contributors ask an identity provider to confirm users. It relies on identity providers to confirm a user's uniqueness and potential and it may retain a local user account with unique attributes.

Types of Identity Providers (IdP)

Examples of identity providers comprise the broadly used Security Assertion Markup Lang. also called (SAML) and Single Sign-On (SSO).

  • SAML: For the purposes of identity usage validation, it delivers an XML-based markup language. Other than Office 365, Webex, Salesforce, ADP, & Zoom, there are many supplementary distributor bids that follow the SAML identity provider standard.
  • SSO: It is a component of entree control that let handlers use several services, data, and apps with only a set of permits. For instance, when an employee enters their workstation, they are also valid to utilize the apps, cloud computing software, and resources to which they have authorization.

IdPs and SSO services

IdPs and the SSO facilities have progress identical in some circles due to the necessity of using a cloud computing identity provider for remote SSO. Cloud-based IdPs are essential for this sort of SSO since they serve as a central store for user IDs. 

However, when an IdP and SSO identity provider is the same company, attacks can easily target the SSO's interaction with the requesting application. As a result, it is unusual for a company to adopt SSO utilizing purely offline or non-cloud identity provision, and SSO and IdPs are often maintained distinct.

Risk of Using an Idp

Although an IdP can be trusted, it still involves giving private information to an outside entity. The identity provider runs the danger of being hacked or otherwise losing control of the data it stores due to sloppy practices in this area.

Blockchain technology is one potential answer that could help solve this problem. An IdP built on the blockchain would capitalize on the distributed ledger technology's distributed ledger capabilities rather than the centralized and federated approaches of traditional IdPs. 

Users would benefit from a unified identity in the same way that SSO and IDaaS do, but they would retain complete control over their credentials rather than having to share them with an external service.

How To Integrate an Identity Provider

Customer Identity and Access Control/Management also known as (CIAM) attach identity providers to your service and link clientele to their digital identities. CIAM supports certification conventions including OpenID Connect, OAuth 2.0, and SAML, which are recognized through major application servers like Tomcat, SharePoint, Wildfly, etc., getting it easy for your software or applications to take identity statistics via arbiters.

  • OpenID Connect (OIDC) is a unique coating on Open Auth. Identity providers are Open Auth 2.0 authorization servers for OIDC implementations
  • Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) permits identity providers to firmly interconnect authorization permits with legal service distributors
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