Identity Providers (IdPs): What They Are and Why You Need One

Identity Providers (IdPs): What They Are and Why You Need One

Thousands of businesses across the globe save time and money with Okta. Find out what the impact of identity could be for your organization.

Identity Providers (IdPs): What They Are and Why You Need One

Learn why Top Industry Analysts consistently name Okta and Auth0 as the Identity Leader

Why should you add finding an identity provider to your to-do list? It's a reasonable question to ask. Plenty of IT managers feel swamped by all the tasks they must handle each day. 

But an identity provider delivers benefits that make your job easier. Some solve everyday problems that happen within your company. And some help your  customers feel more comfortable working with you. 

What Is an Identity Provider?

An identity provider (IdP) is a service that stores and manages digital identities. Companies use these services to allow their employees or users to connect with the resources they need. They provide a way to manage access, adding or removing privileges, while security remains tight.

If you've ever used your Google or Facebook login to access an app, you've used an IdP. Your username and password open doors to another resource, and you don't have to do anything special to make it happen.

An IdP workflow typically involves:

  • A request. The user can enter credentials from another login (such as Google or Facebook or Twitter).
  • Verification. The IdP checks with a company's IT to determine if the user has access and what work that person is allowed to do.
  • Unlocking. The user gains access to the specified resources, and the visit is logged.

This takes mere seconds, and most users don't notice all the hard work happening behind the screen.

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5 Business Problems an Identity Provider Can Solve 

Every company has IT problems, and you may combat a few yourself with your special skills and expertise. But some are best tackled with the help of an IdP.

A connection with an Identity provider could help you combat common business problems, including:

  1. Password fatigue. How many passwords are your employees expected to remember? As the numbers climb, so do risks.

    Your staff might begin to keep notes, spreadsheets, and cheat sheets. Any of those bits of data could fall into the hands of hackers. IdP lowers the memory burden for your staff.

  2. Sprawling user lists. Internal employees, development partners, and customers all need access to your resources. Creating custom logins for all of these people is incredibly time-consuming. An IdP eliminates that work.
  3. Poor paper trails. Someone made a mistake, and you're required to find the perpetrator. Identity provider logins come with data, so you can find out who was online and what that person did. Fixing a problem and eliminating a threat become easier.
  4. Disparate databases. Companies work best when they have a single version of truth. If your staff logs in via different methods each time, and they share other data on social media that you can't access, it's tough to develop a clear picture.

    An IdP solution is different. One login gives you all of the data you need, and silo problems begin to fade.

  5. Enhanced efficiency. Your staff might need to access servers from a variety of devices, locations, and time zones. It's hard to manage access with such shifting variables.

    An IdP manages those details efficiently, so you can focus on the other critical parts of your work.

Implement an identity provider solution, and you may come up with solutions that are specific to your company and your business. But this list can inspire you. Plenty of companies that took the IdP plunge accessed benefits just like this.

4 B2C Problems Identity Providers Can Solve 

Adding customers to your IT mix enhances risks. But if you're in a B2C environment, you may have no choice. An identity provider could help.

Common B2C problems IdPs can solve include:

  1. Enterprise woes. You're developing a product in concert with developers, and you want choice customers to test it out. In theory, every single one of these people needs a different access type. Get it wrong, and you could harm your customer loyalty, business reputation, or both.

    An identity provider streamlines the login process, so you significantly reduce friction and keep the process safer.

  2. Wasteful marketing campaigns. You must reach the right consumers at the right time with the right message. And a lot of money is on the line. Marketing expenses were projected to top $103 billion in 2019, and that number is expected to rise.

    A single source of truth helps you truly understand the customers who use your identity provider. That helps your team build campaigns that actually convert.

  3. Ever-changing technology. Your consumers want assurances that you're staying up-to-date, but investing in biometrics, fingerprinting, and more takes time. An identity provider could both research and implement those resources for you. Consumers won't know that you didn't do the detailed work yourself to make it happen.
  4. Lax security. Consumers want assurances that their data is protected. A robust IdP partner provides that enhanced security, so you can tell your customers that you've made an investment that benefits them. This enhances overall customer loyalty.

Again, you may have business-specific benefits that aren't mentioned here. But it's clear that B2C companies can benefit a lot from a connection with a reputable identity provider solution.

Let’s Get Started 

With a robust IdP solution, businesses can handle the complexities of storing and authenticating identities in the modern, connected world. Offer your users safety without friction. Go the extra mile with Okta.


What Is An Identity Provider (IdP)? (March 2019). Security Boulevard. 

Identity Provider. TechTarget.

Identity Provider. (2015). Science Direct.

Identity Providers and Federation. Amazon.

Single Version of Truth: Why Your Company Must Speak the Same Data Language. (January 2018). Forbes.

13 Ways to Create an Effective Marketing Campaign on a Tight Budget. (August 2017). Forbes

Find out more

Want to learn more about how an identity provider can help your business?
The Okta team is here to help.