Amazon Cognito and Passport Comparison

Bryan Giese

Cognito and Passport Comparison

Identity management is a hot topic lately—stories about cyber breaches, industrial-scale data mining and the EU’s GDPR all connect back to a company’s identity system eventually. Too often those stories gloss over that fact that many of these data protection failures were avoidable if the companies involved implemented more effective customer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions. Two popular solutions, Cognito and Passport, are offered by Amazon and Inversoft, respectively, although they approach the problem from different perspectives.

Cognito is part of the Amazon Web Services family and provides a registration and login tool that connects your user’ data to the wider Amazon data processing and advertising network. Passport takes a different approach with a full-service platform that gives you control of your own users and data. This contrast in perspective explains many of the differences between Amazon Cognito and Passport.

What Cognito and Passport Have In Common

Hordes of Secure Users

At their most basic point of comparison, Cognito and Passport both allow applications to register and login users to web and mobile applications, and they both take advantage of OAuth tokens & API key management providing secure access with proven and standardized protocols. Ready to handle identity and access for the next ‘killer app,’ they both are designed for web-scale applications and can register an unlimited number of users without a hiccup.

Fast Implementation

Cognito and Passport are both designed to be quickly up and running with almost any platform. This is a tremendous benefit over developing your own secure authorization system which can take months or more of advanced developer effort. A ‘roll your own’ solution will also require constant evaluation and maintenance as technology and security threats evolve. Authorization with Firebase and Passport are both designed to implement quickly on a variety of platforms allowing you to devote your valuable developer resources to application features that serve your customers and earn you revenue.

How Cognito and Passport Are Different

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Single-Tenant Security

A big difference between Cognito and Passport is both of Passport’s local and cloud options deliver true data isolation as single-tenant solutions. This eliminates the possibility of data leakage between unrelated companies, whether accidentally or through sabotage. It also eliminates the risk of another company’s poor security practices allowing access to your customer’s data. Passport also enables customers to implement a firewall at any layer, further protecting their data from unauthorized access.

Passport’s single-tenant architecture also allows for easier compliance with complex regulatory restrictions in many industries and countries. Germany’s Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, Australia’s Privacy Principles, Canada’s PIPEDA, and most recently the European Union’s GDPR all place different restrictions on how a user’s personal data can be used and transmitted. Passport provides the expanded control for companies required to comply with laws and regulations in their specific region.

For more details on the benefits and pitfalls of single- and multi-tenant solutions read our recent whitepaper.


A company doing business through the internet today has a storefront open to customers from around the globe. While having a vast pool of potential customers is a benefit, many companies struggle to deliver their products and services to the wide range of languages they encounter. Passport was designed to allow you to easily communicate with your customers in the language they prefer. You can create customized HTML and text email templates for the languages you support, and quickly add additional options as your community grows. Find out more in the Passport Email Templates tutorial here.

Configurable Password Encryption

Every application has different 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.

Reporting and Analytics

User reports have been in every slide presentation and corporate board meeting since the first bit of software hit the internet. From day one Passport gives you the most requested reports like daily/monthly active users, logins and registrations without any additional configuration or setup.

Enterprise Identity Unification (EIU)

Another way Cognito 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 a 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.

If you would like more information on how Passport enables effective EIU across multiple identity management systems, contact us.

Custom Feature Development

Another difference between Cognito and Passport is our size and flexibility. There is no doubt that Amazon is a huge corporation that reaches all corners of the planet. At their size, it is difficult to get custom features or functionality unless they can serve their all Cognito customers. Smaller companies with unique or non-standard needs will find it difficult to get any type of custom feature implemented.

Inversoft is a small, bootstrapped company dedicated to our customers. 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). If you have a specific challenge for managing users that we don’t already cover, we’ll work with you for a solution. This is an added benefit to having a single-tenant solution: your system can be customized to fit your specific requirements and specifications.

These are just a few of the immediate differences between Cognito and Passport. Download this feature comparison for a point-by-point evaluation, and please contact us if you have any questions or would like a quick demo. We’d love to show you what we can do for your application.

Amazon Cognito and Passport Comparison

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.

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