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What does Auth0 do, the Argentine unicorn sold for 6.5 billion dollars

2021-03-04T14:31:45.666Z

'Digital authentication' is a process known only to programmers, but it is far more important than we think.



John brodersen

03/04/2021 11:15

  • Clarín.com

  • Technology

Updated 03/04/2021 11:19

"Auth0 guarantees the digital validation of

2,500 million logins per month,

" they explain from the company that this Wednesday captured the attention of technology news in Argentina for its sale at 6,500 million dollars.

But

what does “digitally validate” mean?

What is "authentication"?

Although it is something that is only handled in the field of programmers, authenticating

ourselves

is something we do almost every day:

entering with our username and password

to our phone, a PC, some service, website or application.

In fact, the idea of ​​"authentication" is simple enough to understand: it

is confirming that someone is who they say they are.

Thus, while an “analog” way, that is, to validate an identity could be to ask for a document and look at the person's face to compare it with the photo printed on the documentation, digital authentication would imply

validating an identity from a computer system.

There is a well-known maxim among computer security experts that says that authentication is "something you know, something you have, or something you are":

  • Know: a password


  • Have: a coordinate card, a token, a crypto dongle


  • Be: facial recognition, fingerprint 

Of course all this is the starting point of the Auth0 business, which works with these bases.

In practice, everything is more complex.

Digital authentication and what Auth0 does

Passwords, a problem in computer security.

Photo DPA

The companies classified as "unicorns" are Internet-based firms (before they were called "dotcom", today they use the more elegant and global term of "startups") that managed to reach

a market value that exceeds the barrier of US $ 1,000 million

, as happened previously with Mercado Libre, Despegar, Globant and OLX.

In May 2019, Auth0, founded by Eugenio Pace and Matías Woloski, joined that select club: it obtained a new injection of capital for

US $ 103 million

and had a market value of US $ 1,100 million.

Auth0 is dedicated to this: validating identities digitally.

Technically, the business is called

“Identity as a service” (IDaaS)

, that is, an identity as a service for third parties.

"To speak specifically, we provide the famous

'login box'

, because any application that has some type of value needs the user to be authenticated," once explained Matías Woloski, the company's technology manager.

Auth0 validates identities.

Photo Auth0

Clarín's SMEs magazine, which in February 2020 dedicated the cover story to this financial "unicorn," described it in a very clear way: for the common user, knowing AuthO would be as alien as knowing the manufacturer

of the the laces of his sneakers.

But this triggers an immediate question: when one logs into a service like Gmail, Netflix or Facebook, isn't the page itself that validates this?

Yes, in the case of Big Tech, they do.

So

what is Auth0 for

?

“Netflix, Gmail, Facebook, they have their own authentication systems.

But there are many companies that have to develop their own structure.

And there the problem appears: this has a very high cost because we have to develop a system that is not compromised ",

Javier Smaldone, a computer expert

, explains to

Clarín

.

In fact, big techs not only have their own systems, they provide them.

“Note that in many cases one can log into a page via Facebook or Google.

There they are providing the service to a third party

”, he adds.

That does Auth0, on another scale.

“It is as if you had to develop the lock of your house.

As it is expensive, you buy it from a locksmith.

The user has the convenience of entering everywhere with a single key.

Well,

Auth0 is dedicated exclusively to that

”, he graphs.

Login validation system: Auth0's business.

Photo Auth0

Few things are, perhaps, so little "salable" as "identity as a service."

But Pace and Woloski wrote a book in 2008 (

A guide to Claims-Based Identity and Access Control

) about the "problem of authentication", a common thing in computer studies, for the publisher of Microsoft (company in which Pace came to be a product manager).

The book that Pace and Woloski published at Microsoft's publisher.

Photo Microsoft

There, from that investigation, they realized that there was a business.

That was the germ of Auth0, in a world where "123456" is still the most used password.

Perhaps it was the ability of Woloski, who even having studied computer engineering at the University of Buenos Aires, inherited from his father and his auto parts shop on Calle Warnes a great ability to sell.

Skill that resulted in more than 2.5 billion logins per month to services and pages around the world.

And, as of this Wednesday,

at $ 6.5 billion

.

SL

Look also

Auth0, one of the Argentine unicorns, was sold for 6.5 billion dollars

Auth0, the fifth Internet unicorn to emerge in Argentina

Source: clarin

All tech articles on 2021-03-04

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