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As digital transactions have now become ubiquitous, identity fraud has risen at a rapid pace. In 2021, research shows that consumers lost an average of $1,100 per identity theft incident, while businesses lost a total amount of $721 billion. With these numbers expected to rise in the coming years, these figures emphasize the importance of having a robust security infrastructure.

To ensure the well-being of their clients, the federal government requires all organizations to follow robust data protection protocols. This is most applicable to those handling sensitive information, such as healthcare centers, telecommunications companies, and financial institutions. If your company handles sensitive data regularly, client safety should not only be seen as a legal requirement but also as a moral obligation.

Thankfully, there are secure authentication solutions at your disposal. Two primary ways to ensure that your systems communicate securely with one another are through OpenID Connect (OIDC) and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).

OIDC and SAML Defined

1. What is OpenID Connect?

Powered by the OAuth 2.0 protocol, OpenID Connect is an open standard protocol. It simplifies the digital security of APIs, browser applications, and mobile native applications by incorporating multiple functions into a single framework.

With OIDC, you maintain a client application that employs an OpenID Connect Provider (OP) for identity verification. This process covers the creation of unique identities linked to specific users, thus minimizing the risk of fraud. OIDC uses an authorization server to verify an end user’s identity.

2. What is Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)?

SAML is an authentication protocol that acts as an intermediary between a service provider and an identity provider. The system works by sharing information between those two security portals. Information, in this regard, refers to user credentials that must pass SAML attributes.

SAML focuses on identifiers, including login details, authentication state, and other relevant user attributes. A single set of legitimate credentials will be enough to let a user go through the security protocol. SAML-approved credentials are passed down from the identity provider to the service provider, which is responsible for granting entry to a user.

Main Similarities and Key Differences

To better gauge the suitability of OIDC and SAML with your digital security requirements, let’s discuss these protocols’ similarities and differences.

1. Similarities

OIDC and SAML are both identity protocols used for digital security. Their goal is to bridge the role of the identity provider and the application or service a user is trying to access. This linkage is made possible through the verification of authentic user credentials. If a piece of information proves questionable, the user is not granted access.

The protocols’ Single Sign-On (SSO) function hinges on the trust built between the identity provider and the service or application to which a user requests entry. Once established, this trust allows for repeat access without the need for repeat authentication.

Log-in for both OIDC and SAML protocols track a similar process, and involve the following steps:

1. A user logs in to the Identity Provider and selects an app or service.

2. The identity provider passes user information to the user’s browser.

3. From the browser, the information travels to the service or application.

4. The service or application either verifies or flags the information.

5. If the information is verified, the service or application grants access to a user.

2. Differences

SAML uses XML to transmit user data, such as usernames and passwords. Meanwhile, OIDC sends user data in JSON format. The transmitted data in the SAML protocol is called Assertion, while in the OIDC protocol it is referred to as Claims.

The Service Provider in SAML parlance refers to the system or application a user is trying to access. The same portal is named the Relying Party in OIDC-speak.

Which is Better? Which Should I Use?

The SAML protocol was introduced in 2005. The OIDC is regarded as SAML’s modern iteration, employing the system’s foundational architecture while incorporating newer and more reliable technologies. OIDC is often simpler to configure and set up, but SAML still has useful applications depending on the rest of the technology or software in your system. 

Identification Solutions for the Win

Fraud prevention starts with identity protection. As the head of your organization, the rising prevalence of cybercrime should be a huge cause for concern. Given that fraudsters are constantly lurking and are looking for new ways to breach systems, all institutions must keep a proactive approach to fraud-prevention.

Fortunately, authentication solutions such as OIDC and SAML are there to keep your organization and clients safel. Be spared from identity fraud, crippling cyberattacks, and other related risks by acquiring a data protection system you can rely on.

Reach out to us at Q5id for winning authentication solutions.

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