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Okta Identity Engine Overview

Identity Engine
Limited GA

About Okta Identity Engine

Identity Engine is a platform service that allows enterprises to build more flexible access experiences that are tailored to their organizational needs. With the Identity Engine (opens new window), you are no longer bound to any one way of identifying, authorizing, enrolling, and issuing access to users. Instead, you can customize and extend your access experiences, including passwordless sign-in, improved per app experiences, enhanced context for secure authentication, and more.

Identity Engine enables many new capabilities in Okta’s access management products, including Authentication (Customer Identity), Single Sign-On, and Multifactor Authentication. The Identity Engine documentation shows developers how to use these new features through the new Identity Engine deployment models.

Why use the Identity Engine?

Some of the new capabilities unlocked by Identity Engine include:

  • Passwordless authentication with a magic link

    Okta enables an end user to authenticate without a password by delivering an email with an embedded magic link to their inbox. The user can click the magic link to complete their authentication experience without having to enter their password. To enable this type of authentication experience, you need to configure the email authenticator and create a policy that enables the email magic link. Other non-password authenticators available include phone (SMS or voice call) and answers to security questions. See Configure passwordless authentication (opens new window).

  • Progressive profiling

    Progressive profiling allows you to capture additional user information or update user information beyond registration as the user progresses through the application. Progressive profiling allows you to reduce registration friction. See Manage Profile Enrollment policies (opens new window).

  • App-level policies

    An app sign-on policy is a security policy framework (opens new window) that allows organizations to model security outcomes for an app. For example, you can automatically step up authentication to a strong non-phishable factor when elevated risk is detected. See App sign-on policies (opens new window).

  • Flexible Account Recovery

    You can now use Okta Verify to reset user passwords in addition to the phone, email, and security question authenticators. This allows your users to leverage modern authenticators such as Okta Verify Push and helps you to execute password resets with stronger security. Admins can configure any authenticator as a second factor when a user is resetting their password, not just the security question authenticator. This flexibility increases the security and simplicity of account recovery using the modern authenticators. See Self-service account recovery (opens new window).

Deployment models

The Identity Engine user authentication deployment model can be divided into two approaches:

  • Redirect authentication: A user sign-in flow that grants authentication control to Okta by redirecting to an Okta hosted sign-in page using open protocols like OAuth 2.0 and SAML. This approach is recommended for most developers, as it is easier to build and maintain.

  • Embedded authentication: A user sign-in flow where the application retains authentication control, without redirection to Okta, using the Identity Engine SDKs or the SDKs along with a client-hosted Sign-In Widget.

See Redirect authentication vs. embedded authentication for a full list of reasons for using these authentication approaches and a complete overview of the different deployment models.

Identity Engine SDKs

To take advantage of the new Identity Engine features — and for a better development experience — use the Identity Engine SDKs (opens new window) to manage authentication in your apps.

Redirect authentication sample apps

The redirect authentication sample apps demonstrate how to redirect users to an Okta-hosted sign-in page, and then receive users redirected back from Okta after users sign in. Implement redirect authentication when you:

  • Have multiple applications or use third-party applications and need Single Sign-On
  • Want Okta to control the authentication flows through policy configuration
  • Want Okta to control upgrades to take advantage of new functionality
  • Have an application that already uses an OAuth 2.0 or SAML provider to sign users in

Learn how to implement this approach with the Redirect authentication guide.

Embedded authentication sample apps

The embedded authentication sample apps demonstrate how to embed authentication in an app with Okta package dependencies. Okta provides two embedded identity solutions:

Embedded SDK only: A highly customizable solution that provides native language support for a variety of identity use cases. Choose the embedded SDK when you want to build out your identity solution that includes the ability to:

  • Provide a fully customized user experience
  • Code against a high-level SDK interface
  • Provide greater flexibility to solve your specific branding requirements

Embedded Widget + SDK: A quick and easy-to-set-up solution that leaves most of the the heavy lifting to Okta. Although the amount of code that you need to write is small, many of the most advanced identity use cases (for examples, social sign-in and multifactor authentication) are supported out of the box. Use the embedded Widget when you need:

  • Quick and easy integration
  • Features that are ready out of the box
  • Simple configuration changes with no additional code for most functionalities, such as multifactor authentication

Learn how to implement these approaches with the Embedded authentication guide.

Enable the Identity Engine for your organization

To upgrade to the Identity Engine, contact your account manager. If you don't have an account manager, contact oie@okta.com for more information.

  • The v1 API continues to work as before until you're ready to use new Identity Engine functionality.
  • The existing Okta-hosted Widget continues to work after upgrading your org.
  • Upgrade your SDK as you would normally do with other SDK updates.