The majority of applications has a built-in tool for authentication (ie. login and authentication) of users and, therefore, don’t need to make use of any specialized authentication software. Such authentication is, for a large number of situations, absolutely sufficient.
What for and when do we use authentication software?
Nowadays, specialized solutions providing advanced authentication, that is to say other than the regular one-factor authentication (ie. username and password), are available on the market. In most cases, they offer advanced security features such as multi-factor authentication, authentication using biometric data, advanced administration of identities (users) and, sometimes, they allow signing in to more than one account (applications) at the same time. To do so, they must keep some data about the user and his or her permissions. Authentication software must be highly secured because the personal data stored is very sensitive. If the software was attacked with success and the stored data stolen, the attacker could gain access to many other systems (or software or applications).
Software producers use a third party’s authentication software in case they want to improve the security of their product but they want to avoid developing two or multi-factor authentication tool themselves. Businesses use authentication software when their employees work in several applications that require authentication. In this case, the goal is not only to increate security of the applications but also to facilitate the authentication process to the users.
The authentication tool is either integrated into the application that uses it or is a standalone software that governs access to multiple other applications in which case the user can, for example, sign in to several applications at the same time and thus avoid the process of signing in to each of them separately. This latter way of using authentication software is similar to the one that is proper to identity & access management software.
What features are part of authentication software?
- Two-factor authentication
- Multi-factor authentication
- Biometric authentication
- Mobile phone authentication
- SMS verification
- User Information Management (Credential Management)
- Single sign on (SSO)
- Security Policy Management (Policy Management)
- Social Login
- Authentication using electronic identification (eID)