Why Your Organization Should be Using OAUTH 2.0

When your organization’s employees and members log in to your web site, membership database, sales tools or HR dashboard, do they use one set of login information to access all the applications? OAuth 2.0 is the industry standard protocol that allows organization to authenticate user data across all applications. Without geeking out on the technical aspects of OAuth 2.0, here’s an overview of why it matters. 

What Is It? 

OAuth 2.0 is a secure, open data sharing standard that should be built into every app. This authentication and authorization standard protects user data by providing access to the data without revealing the user’s identity or credentials. Third-party services can make requests on behalf of a user without accessing passwords and other sensitive information.  You can login, for example, to your Spotify account, using your Facebook login. OAuth 2.0 let’s you authorize the action and it authenticates your data. 

How it Works 

OAuth 2.0 enables applications to access each other’s data without revealing the user’s credentials. It uses username and password tokens instead. Sensitive data such as credit card numbers, medical records, bank statements or passwords are stored remotely and given a token ID so that merchants and third parties do not have access to the credit card number, medical records, password, etc.,  but can verify the token for transactions. 

Features of OAuth 2.0

Your app developers are in the data security business – they need to be focused on using the most secure standards in the apps they roll out. Integrating OAuth 2.0 into your app has several benefits:

1. It allows you to read data of a user from another application.

2. It supplies the authorization workflow for web, desktop applications, and mobile devices.

3. Is a server side web app that uses authorization code and does not interact with user credentials.

4. It gives users more control over their data; they can selectively grant access to various functionalities for applications they want to use.

Advantages of OAuth 2.0

-  This flexible protocol relies on SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to ensure data between the web server and browsers remain private.

-  SSL uses cryptography industry protocols to keep data safe.

-  It uses tokenization to give limited access to the user's data. For example, instead of storing credit card information on Amazon’s web site, the credit card number, security code and consumer name are each given “token” IDs. The tokens are given to the merchant, not the actual data. 

-  It is easy to implement and provides strong authentication. In addition to the two-factor authentication, tokens can be revoked if necessary (ie, suspicious activity). 

-  Uses single sign on

Advantage of a Single Sign On Systems (SSO)

SSO enables users to use one set of login credentials to access multiple applications. The average person maintained 27 passwords in 2016, and 30% of help desk calls are related to password reset issues. When logins become cumbersome and users get frustrated, productivity and morale go down. Enabling users to use SSO through OAuth 2.0 eases access, mitigates risks and gives users control over where their data is shared. 

The bottom line is that this standard should be utilized in all apps to provide ease of use and appropriate security. Keeping your users' data safe should always remain top priority. 

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Bridget Wendling

30 July 2019