What is Single Sign-On (SSO)?

What is Single Sign-On (SSO)?

SSO not only improves access control, streamlines processes, and enhances the user experience throughout the workday but also saves your organization valuable time and money. So, what exactly is Single Sign-On?

What is Single Sign-On?

Most businesses rely on many different applications and systems throughout a workday. This leads to more complex user management and higher security demands.

SSO allows users to log in with the same account and instantly access various systems, websites, and applications. This means you no longer need to remember a long list of usernames and passwords for different services – all you need is one combination of username and password.

With SSO users can easily and securely navigate between different platforms without the hassle of having to log in repeatedly. This feature not only saves valuable time but also enhances the overall user experience throughout the workday.

What is SSO?


The benefits of SSO

Single Sign-On can make a significant difference in the daily routines of employees and other users of your company's systems, while also improving security. Here's how:

 Avoid the hassle of remembering multiple usernames and passwords
Implementing SSO streamlines the login process, eliminating the need for users to juggle multiple usernames and passwords. This not only reduces the frequency of failed login attempts and password resets but also saves time and minimizes frustration for both employees and the IT department.

 An improved user experience
If your company's users work with several different applications throughout the day, implementing SSO will quickly prove to be a time-saving investment, creating a simpler workday and a streamlined user experience.

 Enhanced protection against phishing and identity theft
By consolidating access control, SSO strengthens security measures against potential phishing and identity theft. Phishing attacks pose a significant cybersecurity threat, where malicious actors aim to deceive users into disclosing sensitive information. SSO minimizes this risk by reducing the frequency of credential input, thus lowering the likelihood of information compromise.

 Secure user access
Single Sign-On provides real-time visibility into user access to different applications and their locations. This enables your organization to promptly address any suspicious behaviors and reduce the chances of unauthorized system access.

The risks of SSO

Despite the many benefits of SSO, it is important to be aware of the risks if it is not properly managed or implemented.

Since a single password provides access to multiple systems, a compromise of SSO credentials could potentially give an attacker access to all the user's associated applications and data.

Therefore, it is crucial that you and your company are aware of this challenge and implement additional security measures to protect the company.

The risks of SSO


Additional security measures for SSO

To further bolster security measures, your company can effectively integrate SSO with multi-factor authentication (MFA).

MFA strengthens security by requiring a user to confirm their identity through multiple factors before access is granted. This can be a combination of something the user knows (a password) with something the user owns (a device to receive a code) or with something unique to the user (biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition).

In addition to MFA, it is an effective security measure to control when and where users can access. By implementing geographic and time-based restrictions for access, your company can effectively prevent unauthorized access from unusual locations or at unusual times.

It is also recommended to conduct regular reviews of access control and authentication processes. This ensures that your company's security measures are always up to date and effective.

Is SSO the same as a password manager?

SSO and password managers both help with access to multiple systems and applications, but their functionality differs. A password manager helps to store your passwords, while SSO simplifies the process by allowing you to use the same account for multiple applications. This reduces the need for you to have multiple passwords stored.


Identity and Access Management (IAM) and SSO

SSO plays an important role in Identity and Access Management (IAM) that manages identities and all aspects of user access in your company. By verifying user identities and assigning appropriate access levels, SSO fits well into an overall IAM framework. It helps to simplify and secure login processes, making it easier to manage access rights across different systems and applications.

It is recommended to implement SSO together with activity logs, access management tools, and processes that monitor user behavior. These are important tools for maintaining security and efficiency in access management as they provide insight into which users access which resources and when it happens.

3 considerations before implementing SSO

In order to ensure a successful implementation of SSO, it's a good idea to take the following into consideration:

  1. Integration with existing systems: An important consideration when implementing SSO is how to ensure a smooth integration with your company's existing IT infrastructure. It is crucial to ensure that the SSO solution is compatible with different operating systems, databases, and application platforms.
  2. Scalability: The SSO solution must be able to scale as your company gains more users and applications over time. This requires robust server capacity and the ability to handle a large number of authentication requests without compromising performance.
  3. User experience: Improper implementation of SSO can lead to user frustration and confusion, particularly with multiple login hurdles or a complex system interface. Thus, prioritizing a user-friendly design and providing adequate training on the SSO solution is essential.


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