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Auth0: Technical Overview and key benefits

What is Auth0?

Auth0 is a platform companies and web developers use to verify a user’s identity before giving them access to websites and applications. It’s a flexible, secure, and user-friendly way to let genuine customers in while keeping malicious and fraudulent parties out.

Although web and app developers can build out customer identity and access management (CIAM) tools into their own custom platforms, using a robust service like Auth0 can make implementing and overseeing security and compliance much easier. Off-the-shelf platforms like Auth0 are attractive solutions for smaller companies that don’t have in-house expertise, as well as larger companies that, due to their size and complexity, benefit from a centralised, compliant CAIM platform.

At a glance:

  • Auth0 is designed to give companies and their customers a more secure and seamless login experience.
  • To web users, Auth0 presents as a standard login box, prompting them to enter their login credentials and/or verify their identity through multiple factors.
  • For companies and developers, Auth0 is a user authentication platform that they can customise for optimal security and user experience.
  • Auth0 works with a range of programming languages and can integrate with existing APIs.
  • In addition to websites and applications, Auth0 offers login solutions for browserless devices like smart TVs, gaming consoles, fitness trackers, and smart fridges.

Source Auth0.com

Key features

Single Sign-On (SSO)

One of the core features of Auth0 is Single Sign-On (SSO). This technology allows customers to log into multiple applications or websites using the same set of login credentials. Not only is this more convenient for users by eliminating the need to enter multiple passwords, but it also enhances security by centralising the safeguarding process.

SSO is particularly beneficial for companies that have multiple websites and applications, whether internal, customer-facing, or a combination of both. Auth0 allows employees and customers to access a company’s entire suite of apps and product sites with a single login. It allows employees and partners to access various internal web portals without the need for multiple usernames and passwords. In short, it simplifies the process for everyone.

Multiple login options

  • Social login
    Social login is an SSO option that allows users to log in using their existing credentials from another account, such as Facebook, Google, or Amazon. Auth0 supports more than 30 social login options, and companies can choose which ones they let customers use to log in.
  • Passwordless authentication
    This method eliminates the need for a username and password completely. It allows users to log in using their fingerprint (TouchID) or through facial recognition (FaceID).
  • Passwordless connections
    Also removing the need for traditional text login credentials, this method allows users to log in using a one-time password (OTP) sent to either their phonevia SMS or to their email address.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Auth0 further enhances security by using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to verify users’ identities prior to granting access. MFA is an extra layer of security that requires users to provide more than one piece of verifying information before logging in.

Auth0 supports several different factors for authentication, including:

  • One-time passwords (OTP) sent via text or email
  • One-time passwords (OTP) delivered via voice call
  • Push notifications sent to user devices
  • WebAuthn passwordless login via public key cryptography (“security keys”)
  • WebAuthn passwordless login via device biometrics (fingerprint or face recognition)

Device flow

Among Auth0’s suite of products is a login solution for non-traditional, internet-enabled gadgets and appliances. Auth0’s “Device Flow” technology allows users to securely log into browserless devices and applications associated with the IoT (Internet of Things), such as:

  • Smart TVs
  • Gaming consoles
  • Fitness trackers
  • All-in-one printers
  • Smart Fridges

Logging into these devices with the traditional method—inputting usernames and passwords—can be tedious and even impossible. With Device Flow, the smart device prompts users to enter a code into a separate, more accessible device, such as their phone or computer, in order to gain access.

Breached password screening, bot detection, and attack prevention

As an additional security measure, developers can choose to include Auth0’s breached password screening tool so that users can be informed if their password is compromised. If the password entered has been found to be part of a data breach, the user is prompted to update their password immediately. Breached password screening protects both the customer and the company from the threat of hacking and data theft. 

Auth0 can also screen for bots and identify users with suspicious IP addresses. Its “brute-force protection” tool detects when a suspicious IP address attempts to log into to a single account numerous times within a short timeframe and automatically safeguards the account.

By flagging up these potential threats at the login stage, companies can ensure bad actors are kept out and their customers’ sensitive data remains secure.

Account recovery

Should a user run into any issues logging into their account, such as forgetting their password or losing access to one of their devices, Auth0 comes with a secure account recovery mechanism that allows them to regain access to their account.

In the case of forgotten passwords, admins can enable Auth0’s “interactive password reset flow,” wherein users are automatically sent an email with a link to a password reset page, or admins can manually reset the password via the admin dashboard.

“Remember me” option for users

In Auth0’s New Universal Login product, developers can give users the option of ticking a box labelled “Remember this device for 30 days.” This allows users to remain logged in on the site or app without needing to re-authenticate each time they return to it. This offers a more seamless experience for users and can lead to increased usage and sales through the app or website.

Branding and customisation

Despite being an off-the-shelf platform, not all Auth0 login pages need to look the same. Developers have the ability to customise the front-end user interface and match the branding to the rest of the website or app. Using either custom code or Auth0’s live-previewing editor, developers can upload logos and adjust colours, fonts, borders, button styles, text alignment, spacing, and the general layout of their login widget.

In addition to aesthetics, companies and developers can customise Auth0’s security measures and features according to their needs and that of their customers. They can choose which login methods to offer based on their specific operational and security requirements.

Requirements for developers

Auth0 is designed to be an out-of-the-box solution that developers can set up in minutes. It provides dozens of software development kits (SDKs) and “quick starts, " making it easy for developers to integrate Auth0 into their existing architectures.

Easy integration into existing frameworks

Auth0 can be integrated into any app or website regardless of its technology stack, programming language, and framework. Whatever the stack—LAMP, MEAN, MERN, MEVN–and whatever the language–JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Java, PHP—Auth0 provides simple integration solutions that require minimal time and effort for developers.

Developers are able to securely connect Auth0 to their existing APIs via their admin dashboard. The platform makes it easy for developers to define the existing API, configure authorisation rules, and add the Access Token to the existing application's code.

Once connected, Auth0 will generate an ID Token and Access Token following a user’s successful authentication. Both the ID Token and Access Token are returned to the developer’s application and the Access Token is then used to call the existing API.

Flexible, scalable pricing

Auth0 provides a range of pricing plans that vary based on the number of monthly active users (MAU), the type of authentication required—business-to-customer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), or business-to-employee (B2E)—and the general complexity of the company’s needs.

Auth0 offers a free plan with unlimited logins for apps and websites with a maximum of 7,000 active users. Pricing goes up as the number of monthly users increases and with the inclusion of certain features, such as the use of external databases or adding multiple orgs for B2B logins.

Larger companies can also work with Auth0 to develop a custom plan with bespoke pricing based on their specific needs

FAQs

How secure is Auth0? What secure login options does it offer?

As a centralised Customer Identity and Access Management (CAIM) platform, security is Auth0’s core purpose, and it supports a wide range of security technologies designed to protect both user and company data.

By centralising how and where users log into websites and apps, Auth0 makes it easier for developers to manage security and compliance all in one place. By eliminating the need for users to remember multiple login credentials, or by forgoing text passwords completely, Auth0 also reduces the risk of security breaches due to weak passwords.

Most importantly, Auth0 allows developers to implement the following identity verification tools to further enhance security:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • One-time passwords (OTPs)
  • Biometric login via TouchID or FaceID
  • Breached password screening

Can I integrate Auth0 into my existing framework?

Yes, Auth0 is compatible with all technology stacks, frameworks, and programming languages. It can connect with existing APIs with the help of SDKs and quickstarts, requiring minimal manual coding.

Auth0’s support team and support website are also available to guide developers through the process of integrating Auth0 into existing frameworks.

Is Auth0 compliant with industry regulations, such as GDPR and HIPPA?

Yes, Auth0 adheres to (or makes it very easy for its clients to adhere to) key industry standards, laws, and compliance frameworks. This includes:

What are the benefits of Auth0 compared to a custom-built authorisation solution?

There are several benefits of using an out-of-the-box CAIM solution like Auth0 compared with building one from scratch, including:

  • Faster, easier integration that requires minimal custom coding
  • Scalability for businesses with a growing user base and changing needs
  • Built-in compliance with industry standards and laws (e.g. GDPR and PCI DSS)
  • Access to a broad suite of products and features containing the latest CAIM technology
  • Having a centralised, easy-to-navigate home for user verification and access management

In addition, Auth0 does provide developers with a number of ways to customise their platform to best suit the needs of their users and the company. Developers who switch from custom-built platforms may actually find it easier to customise the login experience using Auth0 than with their previous DIY system.

 

What are the downsides of using Auth0 compared to a custom-built authorisation solution?

When you use a third-party CAIM solution like Auth0, you inherently lose some control over the process (e.g., where and how the data is stored or the appearance of the user interface). In many cases, handing over a portion of control in return for enhanced security and access to all the latest login technologies is a worthwhile tradeoff.

Price is another factor that can deter developers from using Auth0. However, the costs involved in the build and upkeep of DIY authorisation systems can end up equalling or overtaking Auth0’s monthly fees, particularly as the company grows and becomes more complex.

What type of support does Auth0 offer for companies and developers?

Auth0 offers a range of support options for companies and developers. The type and availability of support varies depending on which service plan the company has chosen.

Among the support and resources available are:

  • Access to the Auth0 Community Forum, where you can ask questions to other Auth0 users and Auth0 experts
  • Support via the Auth0 Support Center, where you can submit tickets for assistance
  • Online resource library with setup guides, whitepapers, podcasts, and webinars
  • Dedicated customer success managers (limited to certain plans)
  • Up to 24/7 support availability (limited to certain plans)

How can I get started with Auth0?

Getting started with Auth0 is as simple as registering for an account through their website. Once you've logged in, you can set up connections to authentication services (such as Social Login) via the Auth0 dashboard.

You can connect Auth0 to your API, configure your authentication settings, customise your login page, and personalise the user experience. 

If you have questions or want to learn more about the different types of plans available, you can contact Auth0's sales team and discuss your specific requirements.

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