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SAML vs. OAuth

Sam Bauch

Sam Bauch


An Engineer’s Guide to Enterprise-grade Single Sign-on#

OAuth and SAML are both open specifications for exchanging access credentials for a specific user between an identity provider and an application. When a user wants to sign in to an app using either SAML or OAuth, they are sent to a third party where the user must already be registered. They sign in to this third party, and get sent back to the application. The mechanisms differ, but both SAML and OAuth involve using secrets to securely exchange information about the user in order for the application to begin an authenticated session for the user.