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FIDO vs SAML Protocols: A Quick Comparison

Feature

FIDO Alliance

SAML

Authentication Method

Passwordless or strong multi-factor

Username/password, multi-factor can be integrated

Focus

Strong user authentication

Single Sign-On (SSO) and federation

Deployment

Client-side (FIDO keys) or server-side

Server-side

Standards

U2F, FIDO2 (CTAP & WebAuthn)

SAML 1.1, SAML 2.0

Benefits

Enhanced security, phishing resistance, improved user experience

Streamlined login across multiple applications, centralized access management

Challenges

Requires FIDO-compliant authenticators (keys), potential user adoption hurdles

Complexity of setup and management, reliance on identity providers (IdPs)

Popular IAMs Using It

YubiKey, Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator

Okta, Azure AD

Examples:


  • FIDO: Many banks and financial institutions are adopting FIDO for secure logins. For instance, JPMC utilizes YubiKey, a FIDO-compliant security key, for enhanced account access.

  • SAML: Companies like Google and Microsoft use SAML for Single Sign-On within their ecosystem of applications. G Suite and Microsoft 365 leverage SAML to allow users to sign in once and access various cloud services within their respective platforms.

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