Gartner Research

Best Practices for Using the Evolving OAuth 2.0 Framework

Published: 30 October 2017

ID: G00322322

Analyst(s): Erik Wahlstrom


The OAuth 2.0 framework is the preferred API security method for providing access control to REST-based APIs, but it takes time to master. This document provides technical professionals with advanced OAuth 2.0 guidance and assesses the framework's recent security extensions.

Table Of Contents


  • OAuth 2.0 Is Under Attack
  • The OAuth 2.0 Framework Is Evolving
    • Client to Authorization Server
    • Resource Server to Authorization Server
    • Authorization Server to Authorization Server
    • Client to Resource Server
  • Defining and Managing Scopes
  • Limiting the Attack Surfaces
  • Recentering the Identity Ecosystem for API Access Control
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Use Multiple Security Mechanisms to Form Your API Stronghold
  • Use OAuth 2.0: It Is a Proven Technology
  • Get All the Mileage You Can From Traditional Bearer Tokens
  • Zero in on Your PoP Requirements
  • Voice Your PoP Requirements
  • Use Full-Featured Authorization Servers
  • Harden the Identity Capabilities of the Resource Servers by Answering Six Questions
    • Question 1: What Token Format Should I Accept?
    • Question 2: What Lifetime Should the Tokens Have?
    • Question 3: How Should I Validate the Token?
    • Question 4: What Keys Should I Trust?
    • Question 5: What Token Should I Use Against Downstream Services and APIs?
    • Question 6: How Should Token Revocation Be Handled?
  • Don't Underestimate the Complexity of the Client
  • Protect the Keys
  • Strike the Right Balance in Your Scope Design
  • Manage Clients When Using X.509 Certificates

The Details

  • Definitions
  • Proof of Possession Mechanisms
  • Token Binding
  • Mutual TLS Profile for OAuth 2.0
  • Signed HTTP Requests
  • JWT Pop (JPOP) Token Usage
  • Comparison of Four PoP Mechanisms
  • OAuth 1.0 vs. OAuth 2.0

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