digital agility

Scaling Application Authentication to Enable Digital Agility

Categories: CIAM

The world is now digital and companies are racing to keep up to acquire and engage customers on their terms, whatever devices they’re on. However, achieving digital agility is no small task. As companies grow, development teams are building new applications, balancing requirements across multiple products across multiple channels, as well as ensuring infrastructure scalability to meet new usage demands. 

Customer authentication is the front door to all your digital experiences but it doesn’t stop there. Authentication goes beyond registration, login, and recovery extending into authorizing devices, staying compliant with security and privacy regulations, maintaining infrastructure performance and scalability, and future-proofing user experiences. 

Here we define digital agility, it’s impact on business, and how application authentication fits in the picture. 

What is digital agility and why does it matter?

Digital agility describes both an organization’s capacity to quickly and effectively create changes in their business processes, product experiences, and technology stack, as well as the ability to adapt to changes across these domains. 

The topline summary of why this matters is that getting it right increases revenue. According to research conducted by Deloitte, companies with higher digital maturity report 45% higher revenue growth and profit margins. 

Beyond bottom line growth, companies that maintain digital agility reap a number of rewards for their efforts including: 

  • Better user experiences
  • Faster feature and product delivery speed
  • Increased capacity to respond to competitive threats
  • Lowered maintenance costs (55% of IT budget was allocated to infrastructure maintenance, but executives want to spend more on innovation)

What impact does application authentication have on digital agility?

Here’s a common scenario: a company launches an application and that application takes off (nice!). Then the company launches additional applications or expands an existing application from web to native mobile (or vice versa). A few years laters the company undergoes an acquisition or merger and emerges with a more robust product portfolio than ever before. 

Here’s the problem: each application is built in a silo with individual code bases, user directories, and one-off integrations across multiple systems. Plus, homegrown authentication systems can also incur additional server, data center, and maintenance costs. 

Siloed, monolithic authentication infrastructure leads to inconsistent and disconnected user experiences, brittle integrations, and difficulties with keeping up with changing compliance requirements. Not to mention, the more applications a company has the more these problems will compound, leading to technical debt that accumulates and multiplies over time. 

With a future-proof customer authentication strategy companies can avoid these common pitfalls and take the burden of building and maintaining authentication off of engineering. 

How to scale application authentication

The foundational principle in scalable application authentication is to abstract an authentication layer that is decoupled from individual applications. This allows companies to centralize user directories, deploy security patches and updates uniformly, and provide a connected user experience consistently no matter where they’re interacting with your applications. 

This abstracted authentication layer should:

  • Be compatible with cloud-based architecture
  • Give users a single, consolidated credential to support a unified user experience
  • Ensure flexible extensibility across the tech stack with proven open standards including OpenID Connect (OIDC), OAuth 2.0, Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), and System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM)
  • Simple to deploy, configure, and maintain

While you can choose to build this abstracted layer yourself, for most companies, investing in an authentication platform is a better choice—they’re designed to not only help you solve common issues during the customer identity lifecycle, they also address edge cases, cross-platform compatibility, and is fast for engineers to deploy while completely removing the burden of upkeep. 

Beyond Identity can help

Beyond Identity Secure Customers provides out-of-box passwordless authentication for native and web applications via SDKs and APIs to support a microservices architecture. In addition to enabling companies to deliver a zero-friction passwordless experience that accelerates conversions and eliminate account takeover fraud, Secure Customers SDKs and APIs are backed by the Beyond Identity platform that is:

  • Cloud-native from the start with global data centers to minimize authentication latency for your customers wherever they are and ensure high availability for enterprise workloads and seasonal spikes.
  • Built solely on proven, open standards (OIDC, OAuth 2.0, SAML, SCIM) to support extensible integrations across your existing tech stack.
  • Robust engineering support and low maintenance effort with SDKs in popular languages for iOS, Android, and web, detailed documentation and API references, sample apps, and transparent uptime reporting. 

Chat with a technical expert today about modernizing your application authentication.