What is Keycloak?

In the world of digital identities, there is a term that is appearing more and more frequently: Keycloak. But what exactly is behind the open source software?

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Keycloak – the key to effective identity and access management

More and more companies are turning to cloud applications and services to digitise and simplify their business processes. But this often raises questions about the security and management of access rights to these services. Keycloak is an open source solution that enables companies to implement secure, centralised management of identities and access rights for their applications and services. In this blog post you will learn what Keycloak is, how it works and the benefits it offers.


What is Keycloak?

Keycloak is an open source Java-based software that serves as an Identity and Access Management (IAM) system. It enables the management of users, roles and permissions as well as the secure authentication and authorisation of applications. A major advantage of Keycloak is its flexibility: it can be used both on premise and in the cloud.

Keycloak is also able to support different authentication methods such as LDAP, OAuth or SAML. For companies, Keycloak is a very useful tool to protect their systems and applications while ensuring a seamless user experience. By implementing Keycloak, users can be easily verified and managed across different applications and systems.

But Keycloak is not only relevant for companies, we are also encountering it more and more while surfing on the couch. Many providers rely on Keycloak for an optimal user experience in order to provide users with a single login source. With this, they can then access all the services of that provider. Another important factor with Keycloak is security. Since it is open source software, anyone can review the source code and fix vulnerabilities if necessary. This means that user data and login details are securely protected.


How does Keycloak work?

Behind Keycloak are several components that work together to enable authentication and authorisation of users in applications and services. The core of Keycloak is the identity provider (IdP), which manages the identity of users and enables single sign-on (SSO) between different applications. The IdP is responsible for issuing access tokens that can be used by applications to access protected resources. Keycloak also has adapters that enable the authorisation of users in an application or service. These ensure that only authorised users can access protected resources. In addition, they can retrieve and use the user’s role to decide what actions they are allowed to perform.

Another important feature of Keycloak is its support for social logins. With that, users can log in with their social media accounts such as Facebook, Google or Twitter instead of creating a new user account and password. This makes registration easier for users and reduces the number of passwords they have to remember. Integrations with other authentication and authorisation systems are also possible. For example, developers can use Keycloak as an identity broker to integrate users into their applications who have already been authenticated in other systems such as LDAP or Active Directory. In addition, Keycloak supports a variety of protocols and standards such as OAuth2, OpenID Connect and SAML. This facilitates interoperability with other IAM systems.



At a time when digital identity management is becoming increasingly important, Keycloak is a promising solution that offers many advantages. Although Keycloak can be a bit challenging to implement and configure initially, the benefits it offers can be instrumental in improving the security and usability of web applications and services – creating what we stand for at intension:

A digital world people can trust.

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