Why Federated Authentication is Important in Business

As the digital economy continues to grow globally, so does the number of digital entities. Therefore, there is a need to manage and protect the way private information is collected, distributed and used. It is very important to manage digital entities online. However, finding the desired manner to authenticate the right users is one of the biggest challenges. Failing to secure digital entities or distribute them correctly may lead to the exposure of information, which could consequently, be used for illegal purposes like identity theft.

Using Federated Identity Management

The idea of federated identity management is founded on the invention of worldwide online data exchange of business identities. It uses different applications and system identities. This is a more efficient way that uses a single sign-on since a user can own many accounts, usernames and passwords across numerous systems.

It also aims to improve the system’s cost efficiency by getting rid of many administrative roles. The approach does away with the need to open and manage many accounts, users and passwords from other systems. This discourages cybercriminal activities.

Federated Identity: Beyond the Organisation

Federated identity is where one enterprise, the identity provider verifies a user’s identity while another one, the service provider, offers computer services to the user. Instead of both organisations having to keep duplicate user identity information, which could have them bearing the cost of maintaining it, the employer is tasked with storing the user information and the other company has to trust the authentication offered by the employer. The user only has to sign on once and not at all the websites.

People use federated identity all the time without even realising. For example, when you drive a vehicle to a different province, it accepts that your home state has already verified your identity and ability to drive. The same applies to using a credit card; the merchant has to trust that the credit card company has verified that it is yours. Organisations can also build trustworthy relationships with one another to allow users of one firm to use computer systems of the other one.

Federated identity goes past technical details of how different servers communicate. It is the technology plus all the business policies and agreements that govern who is authenticated to use the services and for what purposes. The systems allow two organisations to agree on one identity for the computer system’s user, and they have different definitions of the user. This is a way of bringing together the two user’s profiles through a common definition that the two partners have agreed to share. The shared definition is hidden and can only be used between a pair of identity and service provider services. In case it is exposed, it can longer be used to log in anyplace else.

This means that a user can easily sign on and get authenticated by the mother organisation and still be able to access services that another firm provides without the need of signing on again. Contrast to this is the centralised identity system that would require the two firms to trust a third organisation with central storage of user information. Federated systems separate the security administration from the application while offering one interface for the two to communicate.

Federated authentication helps reduce security risks that are common in any duplicate login storage. Also, it gives users a more productive and error-free online experience. Its features aim at protecting their private data.

Payel Dutta
Payel Dutta
Happy soul, fond of travelling and loves to read tech columns.


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