How to integrate dashboards in your application securely
Posted On 05/08/2019
When you’re building a SaaS company, there are a couple of technologies you just can’t do without. We call them ‘building blocks’: key components that you can integrate into your own platform, so you don’t need to waste time building it yourself.
For example, SaaS companies all over the world use Stripe for payments inside their platform. They use Twilio for communication. For dashboards & reporting, they use an ‘integrated analytics’ solution.
Now, what is integrated analytics? How can your SaaS benefit from it? In the video below, we’ll explain what it is and how it works in Cumul.io.
What is integrated analytics
Integrated analytics is the embedding of dashboards into your own software application, web page or portal. Instead of programming dashboards and charts yourself, you can use a third party software to take care of the reporting inside your platform.
The advantage is that your organization will save months of development time, which you can spend back into your core platform. You’ll go to market much faster with fully operational reporting.
A very small selection of BI platforms already offers some form of embedded analytics. However, many of them are still very complex to implement. At Cumul.io, we’ve developed an integration that offers all the powerful analytics features you need, but is still very easy in use.
How integrated analytics works
In Cumul.io, you will first create your reports in a drag & drop environment. When the dashboards are ready, you can add them to your application by copy-pasting a code snippet. You can still make changes at any time using the dashboard editor, without any coding required.
Once you’re done creating your dashboards, you can embed them inside your application or web page. There are 2 ways you can embed a dashboard into a web page:
Public embedding Add your dashboard to a public web page, so that everyone can view the same data & dashboard inside that web page
Secured integration Add your dashboard to a secured application that requires sign-in or authentication. You’ll want to limit what each user can see in the dashboards, so that they only have access to the data relevant to them.
In Cumul.io, both are possible by simply copy-pasting our integration code snippet. If you want to secure dashboards or filter the data based on the user’s login, the only thing you’ll need to add to the code is a key & token.
What is token-based security
Whenever a user logs in to your platform, you want to make sure that he automatically has access to every function of the app. So, if you have a dashboard embedded in your application, you want to avoid that a user needs to enter username and password again, in order to view the dashboard.
This is exactly what token-based security does. When a user logs in to your platform, you’ll automatically send a temporary token with that request. This token will act as sort of ‘access key’ to load the dashboard, instead of having to authenticate again.
You can create a token using our integration API. When a user logs in, your backend will request a token from our API, and then adds the token to the integration snippet to secure it. As a result, the dashboard is loaded securely inside your application.
If you want to limit the data for each user, you can do that by requesting a token with specific filters. You can define filters for each user ID, and pass this information in the token. In that way, they can only see the data relevant to them.
If you want to get started implementing token-based authentication for your dashboards, check out our developer portal. It contains all the necessary documentation to get your dashboards up & running.
The advantages of token-based security
By securing your dashboards with tokens, dashboards are accessible through single sign-on. It’s highly secure, and it relies on your own authentication mechanism. At the same time, it’s easily manageable and it scales when your number of users starts to grow.
Scalable for a growing user base
SaaS platforms scale fast. Doubling or tripling your amount of users in a short period of time is not uncommon. With token-based security, you don’t have to worry about scaling your reporting.
Instead of manually duplicating roles & users from your platform to your dashboards, you can rely on token-based security to reuse the roles & users that are already inside your platform. Just set it up once, and your embedded dashboards are future-proof for when your platform grows.
Full control over user access
With token-based security, you have full control over which user can see which data. Simply add user filters to the tokens & define which type of users can see which type of data, or limit the views per individual customer.
If you set up rules, you will do this inside your own database or application & pass them on to your tokens. In that way, you stay in full control of the user rules & filters inside your own environment, instead of having to set these filters separately in your embedded analytics tool.
Cumul.io’s integration is secure & easy thanks to the powerful token-based security. Are you looking to improve the reporting inside your own platform? Get in touch, we’ll show you how to set it up in a couple of days!