What is Amazon Cognito?

What is Amazon Cognito?
What is Amazon Cognito?

Mobile or web apps mostly requires a user management solution to manage, authenticate users before giving them access to a restricted area in the app. Creating a user management system from scratch is a big task and requires a deep understanding of handling the PII data i.e. personally identifiable information. Amazon Cognito provides this solution to the developers. Using Amazon Cognito, you can manage and authenticate your users before giving them access to the restricted area in your app.

Amazon Cognito provides authentication, authorization, and user management as a service for your web and mobile apps. It allows users to create an account using a username or password, have a configured MFA (Multi-Factor Auth) and also enable them to log in using one of the third-party providers like Facebook and Google.

Concepts in Amazon Cognito

The two main concepts of Amazon Cognito are:-

  • User Pools are user directories in Amazon Cognito which provide sign-up and sign-in options for your users. Users can create their accounts and use the credentials to log in to your application.
  • Identity Pools allows you to grant access to your users so that they can access other AWS services.

What are user pools in Cognito?

User Pools are user directories in Amazon Cognito which provide sign-up and sign-in options for your users. Users can create their accounts and use the credentials to log in to your application. It also allows your users to federate through a third-party identity provider (IdP) like Facebook or Google. Whether your users use the password-based account or use a third party to create an account with your app, all the users will be created as a member of the user pool and every member will have a directory profile that you can access through an SDK.

Following are the features of a User Pool:

  • Your users can Sign-up and Sign-in to your app.
  • Amazon Cognito has a built-in, customizable web UI to Sign-in to your app.
  • You can use social Sign-in with Facebook, Google, Login with Amazon, and Sign in with Apple with your user pool.
  • There is also an option for Sign-in through SAML and OIDC identity providers.
  • User pools are user directories with features that can help you manage your users and their profiles easily.
  • User Pools from Amazon Cognito have security features like multi-factor authentication (MFA), checks for compromised credentials, account takeover protection, and phone and email verification.
  • Customized workflows for user Sign-up and Sign-in are also available through AWS Lambda triggers.

User pools along with identity pools allow your application to federate using a third-party provider and save the information in your user directory. With the use of the Identity Pools, you can also grant temporary access to AWS services like S3 or Dynamodb.

Integration With Cognito

Many AWS services like API Gateway directly integrate with Amazon Cognito user pools to authenticate the API request to the gateway. AWS Amplify is another library that provides auth setup using Amazon Cognito. it is easy to spin up an auth service using AWS Amplify and many new age apps are using it.

If you are interested to check out how can we use Amazon API Gateway and Amazon Cognito user pool, you can read it here.

Conclusion

Amazon Cognito is a cost-effective, secure and highly scalable Authentication service. If you are not worried about the vendor lock or most of your infrastructure is deployed on AWS, you can give it a try.

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