Guest Blog: Why SSO is Beneficial to You

Guest Blog: Why SSO is Beneficial to You

Single sign-on solutions (SSO) have been around for a while now, for good reason, but until recently – as of the last two or three years – the solutions have become mainstream, used by and required of almost all organizations. SSO solutions are highly effective in streamlining proper access to systems and extremely helpful for many organizations. Also, most modern solutions require minimal effort to implement and use when compared to systems from a few years ago.

To start, here are four simple ways SSO is beneficial.

1. Single sign-on helps end users. There is actually a term called “password fatigue.” This is the feeling expressed by users required to remember an excessive number of passwords as part of their daily life. Password fatigue is also known as password chaos or identity chaos. Implementing a single sign-on solution can help mitigate these problems by requiring users to remember just one password. With one password to remember, a user can easily create and remember a unique and secure password, with no need to write it down. SSO reduces password fatigue, eliminates stress, and can make the end user more efficient and better suited to tackle the work day/school day.

2. Single sign-on helps administrators. Fewer passwords to remember equals less calls to the helpdesk, resulting in more time to spend on other tasks for both the end user and the administrator. Admins are also susceptible to password fatigue. Those tasked with constantly resetting end user passwords can end up with lower morale and higher turnover.

3. Single sign-on increases security. Password fatigue can encourage users to implement non-secure password habits, such as writing passwords down or using simple passwords that can be extremely vulnerable to hacking.

4. Single sign-on helps with compliance. Organizations governed by HIPAA, SOX and other regulations can also benefit from single sign-on. SSO helps organizations increase control over the user's access to certain information as well as easily enforce password change policies.

Like technology, the face of SSO is constantly evolving. While the solutions continue to gain popularity and are more routinely utilized in organizations around the globe, implementing an SSO solution in t the network used to be relatively straightforward. Software was deployed to workstation on the network; centralize server stored credentials, authorizations and application definitions.  Users simply authenticated against a directory service like AD or LDAP to gain access to the SSO functionality.

SSO and the cloud
With the advent of cloud applications, the implementation of SSO in most company networks has become significantly  more complex. Many applications are now hosted in another technical domain, namely the cloud. This means that the common authentication between the user and the application -- usually Active Directory -- has disappeared. Besides the advent of cloud applications, organizations are faced with another trend that complicates the implementation of SSO, namely bring-your-own device (BYOD). End users now have the freedom to use their personal device – a PC, tablet or smartphone -  to log in. In addition, employees want to have access to applications irrespective of their location or time of day. This makes the implementation of SSO much less straightforward for the IT organization.

Cloud SSO
One recommendation to organizations is to select a model that does not make them dependent on the interfaces of application vendors. There are various suppliers of what are known as SSO solutions, where the application is hosted in the cloud, thus supporting BYOD. However, when an employee launches a web application hosted on site or in the cloud, the software will recognize the application’s log in screen and automatically enter the right credentials. These log in details are stored in encrypted form in the SSO database, also in the cloud.

Because of these reasons and scenarios, SSO has gained such a level of importance to organizations worldwide.  Couple with a changing culture in need of additional security and protection, they are now mainstream, mission critical solutions. While the environments in which they are implemented are more complex than they once were, the solutions themselves are not difficult to implement or maintain. On the contrary, SSO is so popular today because as a technology they are easy to use, maintain and implement.

Posted by Dean Wiech on Jun 21, 2016

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