Gartner Research

Building Authentication, Authorization and SSO Into API-Driven Apps

Published: 21 January 2020

ID: G00390369

Analyst(s): Erik Wahlstrom


Organizations must use standards when building authentication in native apps and modern web apps (aka SPAs and PWAs). This research helps security and risk management technical professionals focused on IAM to use OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect to balance cost, usability and security.

Table Of Contents


  • The Evolving Landscape of SSO in Apps
  • Protecting APIs Used by Apps
  • “The Dance”
  • Browsers Are the Heart of SSO
  • Session Management — Keeping Access Tokens Up to Date
  • Increasing the Trust in Public Clients
  • Building Native Apps
  • Key Storage in Different Operating Systems
  • SSO Through Shared Key Stores for Native Apps
  • Hybrid Apps
  • Progressive Web Apps
  • Building Modern Web Apps
  • Key Stores in Browsers
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Avoid Proprietary Methods
  • Know Your OAuth 2.0 and OIDC Flows
  • Use Proven Client-Side Libraries
  • Follow the Principle of Least Privilege
  • Manage Consent
  • Use the AppAuth Pattern When Building Native Apps
  • Use the Legacy Implicit Flow for SPAs and PWAs — But Stay Up to Date
  • Terminate Sessions and Explicitly Delete and Invalidate Active Tokens

The Details

  • The Alternatives to Bearer Tokens
  • Support for Interapplication Communication in Operating Systems
  • Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)
  • Evaluation Criteria for Native App Libraries
  • Evaluation Criteria for Modern Web App Libraries
  • Commonly Used Libraries for Native Apps
  • Commonly Used Libraries for Modern Web Apps


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