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Time to Get Out of the Password Business

By Greg Keegstra | Posted on July 28, 2011

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Last week we attended the Cloud Identity Summit in Keystone, Colorado and connected with a diverse set of architects, strategists and product gurus in the identity space. While much attention was placed on architecture strategy inside the firewall, a big pain point we heard repeatedly was the consumer-facing issue of login.

What’s the problem? There’s no question that user sign-in and registration helps drive increased personalization but sites don’t want to be in the business of managing passwords. Consumers reuse their passwords across sites. If one site’s security is breached the damages can be exponential. Surrender Gmail credentials that are tied to a Google Apps account and you have a real mess.

Google and Janrain have cooperated in launching tools for consumer-facing websites that enable users to login with their existing email credentials. The Google Identity Toolkit (GITkit) and the Janrain Login Helper enable any site to federate login while simplifying registration and providing a consistent user experience.

The Shift to Identity Providers

Google’s Eric Sachs does a great job of laying out Google’s rationale for helping sites get out of the password business. Eric has been the biggest long-time advocate for this shift and the reality is that large identity providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are better equipped to manage these passwords. With large teams focused on security and identity services, they can more quickly react to security threats and stay up to date with best practices. See Eric Sachs talk about their announcement of GITkit and why it’s time to kill passwords.

For the enterprise and business market interested in implementing login using email addresses, Janrain provides an SLA and dedicated support along with its Janrain Login Helper service. The integration is lightweight and user profile data is normalized across providers. Login Helper can be deployed alongside Janrain Engage to give customers the option of signing into websites with their social networking accounts or using the more familiar and traditional email address based method. User data can then be stored in Janrain Capture. This offers websites a complete registration flow.   

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