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First Impressions Last: Improving the Activation Experience Through Okta APIs

Frederico Hakamine
Frederico Hakamine
Sr. Technical Product Marketing Manager

Organizations are increasingly building custom apps to interact with their customers, employees, partners, and contractors. The problem, of course, is that a successful digital strategy is simply not possible without a secure presence everywhere. Apps need to be available on iOS, Android, and Alexa, just to name a few. Moreover, users demand an elegant and intuitive experience, so developers must deliver a best-in-class user experience (UX) everywhere without sacrificing security.  

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App registration: good experience vs bad experience

An app’s registration and activation process forms a crucial part of the UX and security. This is the first interaction between your users and your apps, so if it’s clunky and time-consuming, it creates a bad impression. In addition, insecure registration processes are vulnerable to data leakage attacks.

A Password is Not Enough

Securing an app with a single password has virtually become an invitation to a data breach. Users who need to access multiple systems often end up reusing passwords and storing login credentials in a browser. The impact of this is obvious. Attackers have successfully utilized password fatigue to breach many systems. In fact, the majority of current data breaches result from the use of weak or stolen credentials.

This leaves developers with the unenviable task of creating an identity service that is both secure and easy to use. Many developers build their own multi-factor authentication (MFA), but this is time-consuming and insecure. Instead of trying to build an identity service for an application, developers are better off simply consuming one. By doing this, they reduce development time and free up valuable resources. They also benefit from a secure solution that provides a great activation experience, while being easy to adopt across different apps.   

Rethinking Identity Management

Okta provides Widget and Software Development Kits (SDKs) that help security and IT administrators enable developers to securely implement identity registration with native MFA in their apps, without having to develop their own implementation. By utilizing Okta’s API products, developers can provide the best user experience to both internal staff and customers using the same platform, and the rich functionality provided by the API can be adapted to fit any use case. Okta also makes it easier to integrate an app with an identity platform through its Okta Integration Network, which offers over 5,500 pre-built integrations with cloud and on-premises systems.

Too many activation experiences are overly long and complicated. In the case of a university, for instance, a new user can spend as long as 30 minutes on the onboarding process. Ideally, an activation should take seconds, not minutes.

Instead of forcing new users to fill out long registration forms, remember multiple reference numbers, or sign up for multiple apps or services separately, Okta can help developers offer a single simple activation experience. Users can even sign in with external social login providers like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. Once authentication has taken place and users are returned to your app, social profile information can be pulled into your Okta directory.  

The benefits also continue once a user has been registered. Okta offers a holistic security solution that includes Single Sign-On (SSO) and Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Okta’s SSO solution delivers a simplified yet secure login experience, while Adaptive MFA helps strengthen authentication by providing contextual awareness to the login process through factors such as a user’s device and location. Okta's Lifecycle Management solution helps organizations control user access to apps by automatically provisioning and deprovisioning users as roles change.

Creating meaningful user interactions, from the initial activation experience to the daily authentication exchange, is essential for organizations operating in today's digital economy. With the help of Okta, developers can not only enhance the identity experience and improve security, but also accelerate app development and spend more time on core functionality.

Find out more by visiting Okta’s dedicated developer site, or our API Products page. If you’re looking to get started, these handy guides will have you going in minutes.

 

 
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Frederico Hakamine
Sr. Technical Product Marketing Manager

Frederico is a jack of all trades and master of none. He has been designing, developing, customizing, and breaking systems for more than 10 years in the field. Frederico spends his time at Okta developing code and promoting the Okta Platform and APIs. In his spare time, he cracks some code for his wife's startup and works on silly projects like his own beer and music.