The Initiative for Open Authentication (OATH) is a collaborative effort of IT industry leaders aimed at providing a reference architecture for universal strong authentication across all users and all devices over all networks. Using open standards, OATH will offer more hardware choices, lower cost of ownership, and allow customers to replace existing disparate and proprietary security systems whose complexity often leads to higher costs.

High Level Features of OATH Reference Architecture:

  1. Open, royalty free specification – leverages existing standards where possible and initiates standardization efforts in other well-established technical standards bodies as needed
  2. Device innovation and embedding – supports a variety of authentication form factors (tokens, smart cards, etc.) as well as transformation of existing mobile devices (mobile phones, PDAs, laptops, etc.) into authentication devices.
  3. Interoperable modules – framework components are designed to be interoperable to provide flexibility in solution development and deployment.
  4. Native platform support – designed to integrate with existing identity and access management platforms and infrastructure (e.g. LDAP directories, AAA servers)

Benefits for Authentication Solution Providers:

  1. Interoperability and personal networking opportunities allows vendors to create solutions that work with complementary vendors in “best of breed” solutions
  2. Comprehensive framework provides architecture for development of complete “end-to-end” solutions
  3. Reduced cost or research and development through royalty-free, open standards-based specifications and technical collaboration.
  4. Facilitates technology innovation in development of hardware and software “devices” using multiple authentication methods (OTP, SIM, PKI-based)

Benefits for Enterprises Deploying Authentication:

  1. Increase user / consumer acceptability of strong authentication
  2. Potential to drive revenues through a more secure online experience for consumers / users
  3. Reduced cost of solution deployment by simplifying solution component integration, allowing validation to be deployed as a “network utility”
  4. Reduced cost of solution deployment by enabling sharing / reuse of authentication device with multiple web sites or applications
  5. Open standards approach prevents “vendor lock-in” and broader vendor choice for flexible, best-in-class solution deployment

Benefits for Consumers Benefits for Consumers / End Users:

  1. Reduced risk and impact of identity theft through more widespread deployment of strong authentication
  2. Convenience and improved user experience through a broad range of authentication devices and services