As we talk to and win new clients, we learn about the other identity management platforms that are available today. One of the more interesting discoveries is that Firebase and Passport are coming up as comparable products. While they are both called identity management solutions, the truth is that Firebase and Passport are very different products designed with a substantially different set of features. As true CIAM solutions, they really don’t compare.
What Firebase and Passport Have In Common
Registration, Web Standards, Emails
There are a few things that Firebase and Passport share. They both allow users to register and login to web and mobile applications. In fact, both can register an unlimited number of users and groups, which is important for an application that doesn’t want to re-configure their registration system once they start to grow. Both solutions take advantage of OAuth tokens & API key management, too, providing flexible and secure access with proven and standardized protocols. At least to some degree, both allow you to customize the transactional emails for account verification and password reset that any CIAM solution should be able to send. More about this below.)
Another very important aspect Firebase and Passport have in common is how quickly they can be up and running for your application. Developing your own secure authorization system can take months or more of advanced developer effort, and then you’d have to have a team of engineers to maintain it as technology and security threats evolve. Authorization with Firebase and Passport are both designed to implement quickly on a variety of platforms, and allow you to devote your valuable developer resources to the aspects of your application that serve your customers and earn you revenue.
But that’s where the similarities end.
How Firebase and Passport Are Different
Passport is Single-Tenant
The most distinct difference between authentication with Firebase and Passport is that Passport is a single-tenant solution, not a SaaS platform. You can read more details about this in our comparison to Auth0 here, or in our whitepaper about the difference between single- and multi-tenant platforms here.
Above we said that Firebase and Passport both allow you to customize your emails. Technically, that is true, but Passport gives you much more flexibility. In fact, Passport gives you HTML capability in your emails, allowing you to design and deliver messages that fit your brand in style, color, phrasing, imagery and whatever else you want to include. You design it and load it up and every email will be exactly what you need.
Passport also allows you to trigger event-based emails for any custom event you like. Simply set up an API call for the event and create and email for it and you are all set. Want to send a message to the user when they’ve hit a milestone like “over 100 visits”? No problem. You want to send an email to active users from a specific region who achieve a specific level during a unique week-long promotion? Got it. The uses and possibilities for this are endless, and can increase the interaction and engagement between you and your audience.
With today’s internet, customers can come from anywhere in the world, but many companies struggle to deliver their products and services to the wide range of languages they encounter. A feature unique to Passport is the ability to create localized versions of any transactional email based on a user’s locale. You can create customized HTML and text email templates for the regional languages you support, and easily add additional options as your community grows. Find out more in the Passport Email Templates tutorial here.
Configurable Password Encryption
Not every application has the same security requirements. Some need to be HIPAA compliant, while others can be less stringent. We let you pick the level of security you need, and adjust it as quickly as your needs or threats evolve. We also allow you to use different password schemas for different groups of users, making it possible to consolidate multiple identity management systems into one efficient platform. This can be a completely transparent process without any downtime or customer friction. For more details, read about how we migrated DataStax to Passport from their previous solution.
Enterprise Identity Unification (EIU)
Another way Firebase and Passport differ is how they can handle complex bulk merger challenges. In today’s fast-moving business world, companies merge with or acquire partners and competitors every day. It’s a difficult challenge to combine and manage the unique databases of users that each company brings into the system. This is the realm of EIU and presents many complex issues such as duplicate users, incomplete or conflicting data, and varying password schemas.
Passport allows the new parent company to create unique tenants to isolate distinct datasets while still providing a single user management system for the overall organization. It gives the administrators incremental control over how and when the information is merged, and can even engage the users to manage, filter, and unify their own profile data. In contrast, Firebase imports up to 1,000 users as a batch, forcing the company to do all the data consolidation, and possibly causing extensive confusion and disruption for customers.
If you would like more information on how Passport enables effective EIU, contact us.
The Features You Need in a CIAM
It’s no secret that Firebase is part of the gigantic Google ecosystem (as will be your data). They develop and support features that apply to the largest “product-market fit” to benefit their bottom line, not yours. Smaller clients with unique needs have to make-do with a generalized solution that doesn’t quite fit and bundles-in features they will never use.
Inversoft is a lean company dedicated to serving our customers’ needs. For the last 10 years we have successfully provided our core solutions with unique customizations and one-on-one support for our clients. We have eliminated the overhead, complex approval pipelines, and corporate red-tape that cripples large firms so we can deliver exceptional solutions for clients like DataStax, Mineplex, and Niantic (Pokemon). We want to provide you with the exact solution you need for your application to delight your customers, not a “catch-all” solution that adds additional pitfalls and barriers.
Learn More About Passport
Passport is designed to be the most flexible and secure Customer Identity and Access Management solution available on the market. More than a login tool, we provide registration, data search, user segmentation and advanced user management across applications. Find out more about Passport and sign up for a free trial today.