Two of the leading identity technologies go head to head in our post: Okta and Auth0. Which one is better for your business? Keep reading to find out.

Does Okta now own Auth0? Yes, Auth0 is now owned by Okta, but they are still two separate technologies that will continue to work towards bettering the identity industry.

What Is Identity as a Service?

In a long line of products that have moved to service models in the past decade, identity as a service (IDaaS) provides cloud-based subscription models for identity management (IdM) purposes. Like other subscription models, such as software as a service, infrastructure as a service, or platform as a service, IDaaS gives organizations a way to implement identity management in their systems without having to field on-premise solutions. 

IDaaS allows third-party vendors to manage identities and associated features for clients from a centralized cloud environment. This includes critical features of an IdM service such as the following:

  • Identity Governance and Administration: Somewhat similar to identity and access management (IAM), IGA helps administrators control aspects of identity like integrity, compliance, user permissions, and privileges. An IDaaS will have technologies in place to control elements of IdM that pertain to these topics. 
  • Authentication and Access: The bread and butter of IDaaS, a platform will almost always provide methods for user authentication, user authorization (based on IGA policies), support for identity federation and SSO through SAML or OAuth (or other protocols) and, ideally, integration with multi-factor authentication features like biometrics.
  • Audits and Monitoring: This category includes the ability to log user events, including login and access events, and generate compliance-ready reports.  

IDaaS, like other services, has moved from on premises to cloud implementation specifically because of the benefits that come with a cloud approach. These benefits include the following:

  • Centralized Security and Compliance: With cloud implementations of IdM, vendors can take control of security and compliance for their clients. This means that those clients do not have to worry about managing their security (and all the hard work and expertise that entails). Likewise, compliant IdM systems can be used to help companies maintain their own compliance without sacrificing usability. 
  • Cost: From financial costs to work hours and system upgrades, IDaaS outsources these unfortunate but necessary costs to a vendor, who then distributes them across a client base. That means scalable and inexpensive services.
  • Integration: Part of an enterprise IDaaS is interoperability, and as such, these systems will almost always include single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication , role-based permission controls, and more features to federate identity management and provide streamlined access across multiple platforms. 

Who Are Okta and Auth0?

Okta

Founded in 2009, Okta is a major player in IAM services offered through SAML but expanded into integrations with OAuth 2.0, OpenID, and Kerberos. Started by two former Salesforce employees, the company went public in 2017 and was given a total initial valuation of $1.2 billion in 2015. 

Their stated goal is to offer secure authentication and identity solutions to protect user information in enterprise contexts. It provides streamlined authentication services that connect multiple services across a business without adding extra responsibility to end users. 

Overall, Okta offers several services:

  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
  • Universal Directory
  • Advanced Server Access, API Access Management
  • Authentication
  • User Management
  • Business-to-Business (B2B) Integration
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Lifecycle Management
  • Access Gateway
  • Workflows

While Okta has been in the IdM and IDaaS market for over a decade, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and shift to remote working has boosted the potential business market for the company. More enterprise organizations turn to Okta and competitors to secure their IAM systems. 

Auth0

Auth0, in a similar vein, focused on authentication and authorization for back-end user management for applications. Auth0 had already developed several integrations with platforms that would make onboarding users easy. It offered many of the same features that Okta does, and the two companies were considered direct competitors in the IAM and IDaaS markets. 

What Are the Differences Between the Two?

Concretely, Okta provides IDaaS services while Auth0 serves as an authentication platform. 

Okta is a large and well-known brand. They speak to large enterprise customers, providing comprehensive solutions that speak to business and logistic leaders in an organization. Okta is better known for user-friendly applications and modular component development geared towards business customers. Okta covers SSO through the cloud and can work with third-party platforms like Salesforce, Google, and Microsoft. 

Auth0, on the other hand, is geared towards low-level application programmers managing authentication. Auth0 helps programmers create apps to link their code (no matter the language) to authentication APIs to facilitate authentication and identity management internally in the program. It doesn’t support enterprise features like identity management, onboarding, or automation. 

Neither is better per se, but in terms of making decisions about what to purchase, the general consensus is that Okta is better for broad business applications and Auth0 for development purposes. 

Why Did Okta Acquire Auth0?

Many observers raised questions when Okta acquired Auth0 in 2021 for $6.5 billion. 

Some observers suggest that the buyout was inevitable. Not only would it help Okta consolidate its hold on market share, but it would also allow them to better control product pricing. 

Furthermore, acquiring Auth0 kept other companies from making the same move. Salesforce, for example, had recently acquired Slack and MuleSoft to round out its CRM and productivity suite. The addition of a robust and established IDaaS could drive even more business to a holistic Salesforce platform. 

Otherwise, the two products are complimentary. Both offer IDaaS, although Auth0 seemed to focus more on back-end integrations, whereas Okta focused more on enterprise front-end integration. Combining the two will position Okta to build product integrations and IdM across both ends of the spectrum for a comprehensive identity management solution. 

Why Should You Choose 1Kosmos BlockID?

The IDaaS and IAM markets are growing. It signals an increasingly centralized provider market through which users and organizations will have to manage their identity. 

1Kosmos wants to push back against this trend. We believe that ownership of identity and a focus on customer onboarding can happen without ignoring the features that Okta or Auth0 provide. Our BlockID platform offers passwordless solutions on a private, distributed blockchain ledger (something Okta does not do) to place ownership of identity in the hands of users. Furthermore, BlockID comes with several advanced features that you won’t find together on the same platform. These features include the following:

  • Identity Proofing: BlockID verifies identity anywhere, anytime and on any device with over 99% accuracy.
  • Identity-Based Authentication: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through credential triangulation and identity verification.
  • Cloud-Native Architecture: Flexible and scalable cloud architecture makes it simple to build applications using our standard API.
  • Privacy by Design: Embedding privacy into the design of our ecosystem is a core principle of 1Kosmos. We protect personally identifiable information in a distributed identity architecture and the encrypted data is only accessible by the user. 

To learn more about how 1Komos transforms IDaaS through advanced MFA and passwordless login, watch our webinar on our Customer First Approach to Identity-Based Authentication. Also, make sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of 1Kosmos events and products.