Kinvey, a mobile development service, introduced a new product today, Mobile Identity Connect. The company says the new tool gives mobile developers easy access to enterprise identity management systems, thereby simplifying the connection to those systems.
Kinvey CEO Sravish Sridhar says that the goal is to offer a simple way for developers to connect to traditional enterprise identity systems such as LDAP or Active Directory from a mobile app without having to figure it out every time. Mobile device users can then access back-end data systems under the same security protocols that are tied to that identity, as they would get with in-house access.
Kinvey does this by providing the libraries for common development platforms and letting the developers simply hook into the identity service, which is based on Oauth 2.0, greatly simplifying the work involved.
“[Up until now], client libraries haven’t gotten into the complexities of what a developer needs in terms of managing identities in a secure way for popular client libraries,” Sridhar explained.
Sridhar says the company has been thinking about this tool for some time because traditional identity management products were designed for a desktop and web computing environment and making them work in a mobile world has been problematic and challenging for enterprise mobile app developers.
He said even with more modern cloud identity systems like Ping and Okta, it still required connecting on a platform by platform basis, and this tool is designed to give developers a common library for connecting to virtually any identity system, even a custom one.
Sridhar says one of the major differences between what Kinvey is offering and competitors like Kony or Appcelerator, is that it’s built into the Kinvey development environment. This means it provides a way to connect to the identity system itself, but also to the back end data sources, while connecting to engagement features such as SMS or push notifications and enabling new types of business logic facilitated by building a mobile app.
Brian Katz, who is head of mobility engineering at Sanofi who speaks frequently about mobile app development issues, and whom Sridhar says worked closely with Kinvey on this product, has emphasized in the past, the importance of providing security as a framework that enterprise mobile app developers can simply tap into without a lot of coding every time –and this is precisely what Kinvey is providing for identity says Sridhar.
It’s clear that finding a relatively easy way to link to identity can give developers an advantage when building enterprise apps enabling them to build them faster and more efficiently because the identity management is just another library they can access.
Sridhar says it’s possible to access this tool through the open source versions of the libraries, but it kind of defeats the purpose of simplifying it for Kinvey customers, who can use the development platform to do it much more easily.