SAML Vs OAuth : An Important Overview For 2021

Ajay Ohri


Before getting into the details of SAML vs OAuth, let us see how SAML works. SAML is a well-known and trusted protocol for exchanging user identities that are commonly used by businesses and governments. Easy HTTP or SOAP data transfer methods are used, as well as XML data structures. When a service or a Relying Party requires user data, an Identity Provider is used. SAML is an online service for identity verification and authentication. In a standard office environment, a user must log in to gain access to all aspects of its internal processes.

After completing SAML authentication, the user will have complete access to a company’s website, Microsoft Word, and any browser. Using SAML, users can sign up for any of these services with a single digital signature.

  1. The following is an example of a SAML work process
  2. The following is an example of an OAuth workflow
  3. What is the big difference between SAML and OAuth?
  4. What are the other differences? 
  5. What is the alternative to SAML XML Tokens in the OAuth World? 

1.The following is an example of a SAML work process:

By pressing the “Check-in” button, the user enters his or her credentials.

Validation: For authentication, the SAML and the identity provider bind.

A screen welcomes the user and prompts them to enter their username and password.

Token generation: If the user enters all necessary information, a SAML token is created and sent to the service provider, allows a user to log in to the server. This workflow facilitates exchanging information between a service provider, a browser, and an identity provider. Since the procedure is usually completed in seconds, the user does not note the delay.

OAuth – When it is appropriate to transfer authorization from one service to another without sharing login information such as passwords and user ids. (OAuth vs. SSO ) SSO enables users to sign in to a single service, gain access to other services’ resources, and perform actions on that service. OAuth is the simplest way to move authorization from an SSO network to another service or any other platform.

Although the word auth may refer to both authentication and authorization, we’re referring to authorization in the sense of the OAuth protocol. This protocol is used to transfer authorization from one user to another while protecting the first user’s username and password.

OAuth may be a lifesaver in a workplace where the average employee changes job-critical applications 1100 times per day. Employees would like to be able to move from one app to another without having to re-login. This is possible thanks to OAuth.

2.The following is an example of an OAuth workflow:

A simply click the “Log in” button on a web page.

Third-party approving passwords are available to the customer.

Using the following credentials to log in: The authorization server produces and sends an access token to the resource server.

After verifying the key, the resource server grants entry.

Data is transmitted back again and forth between the two servers during this process. OAuth generally uses JWT for tokens, but it may also operate using JavaScript Object Notation therein. 

3.What is the big difference between SAML and OAuth?

SAML vs OAuth:

SAML is now a single roof for standard Single Sign-On SSO Federation and Identity Management, including bindings and constructs.

OAuth is a resource authorization standard. It does not have anything to do with the authorization. 

4.What are the other differences? 

The following flows arise when a user logs in to a service, such as a document-sharing service or a customer relationship management (CRM) database:

SAML vs. OpenID

The first step in SAML is authentication. The SP sends a SAML authentication request to the OpenID, which redirects the user’s window to the IDP. The user then fills out the form with their credentials (username and password).

The SP validates the SAML assertion, collects the user’s identity and permissions (authorization for a specific functionality or data access), and logs the user into the service.

For OAuth, the procedure is all identical except that the access tokens are not encrypted, and only authorization is given rather than identity authentication. 

Since it lacks authorization and depends on the secure sockets layer/transport layer protection (SSL/TLS) protocols for security, SAML is not a good choice for protecting an organization with hundreds or thousands of employees.

5.What is the alternative to SAML XML Tokens in the OAuth World? 

JWT BEARERS can be used for OAuth easily. 


Federated identity tends to stay in a world where hybrid systems, protocols, and devices are constantly interconnected. Although federated identities are more user-friendly because users don’t have to remember as many different login credentials, they come at a cost in terms of protection. While proper implementation of OAuth vs. SAML vs. OpenID or any other federalized services adds convenience without posing any risk, Both approaches are appealing and will be effective for SSO. Both meanings have been tested in several different languages and applications. Finally, since we do not have an existing SAML infrastructure to use, OAuth appears to be a better fit for our needs. Thanks for reading the blog. 

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