What Is Single Sign On?

Saxons Blog

Saxons Blog

Wouldn’t it be great if you could say goodbye to having to remember all the passwords you’re likely to forget? Thankfully, SSO authentication acts as a way for users to access websites, portals, or software programs with a single set of login credentials. Many noteworthy companies use single sign on technology when dealing with consumers and their own employees.

However, there are pros and cons to SSO authentication and it’s wise to consider every angle before committing to a technological investment of this kind. To help you get an idea of what is sign on, we’ve highlighted the must know facts. Continue on to find out more about what is single sign on or visit our Tech page for more of our tech-inspired blogs.

How does Single Sign On work?

Well, single sign on (SSO authentication) certainly appears to be a simple solution if enterprises don’t want their users to manage an excessive amount of login details. Thankfully, there are many third-party identity providers on the market that can store user login information remotely.

In theory, a user would use an identifier, such as an email address or username and combine this with a shared confidential password in order to match their details against those in a secure user database. This would then grant the user access to multiple instances of websites and programs they have permission to access. In ideal circumstances, authentication would also include a one-time key generator to help bolster security measures.

Authentication of this kind is commonplace in enterprises that use a local area network (LAN) in order to host a number of resources, but it’s found across many other areas of business too.

Where is single sign on currently being used?

While single sign on has been available for some time, it has recently been catching on in a big way. Many people may not realise that they actually come across examples of SSO authentication on a daily basis.

Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and many other platforms use single sign on technology, but Google is a standout example. By signing into your Google Account, you will automatically gain access to every Google product: YouTube, Gmail, Google Analytics, and so on.

This clearly highlights the convenience a single username and password can bring when browsing multiple websites. However, when it comes to SSO authentication and business, it’s not always clear cut as there are a number of pros and cons to weigh up.

What are the pros for business?

Firstly, one of the biggest advantages of single sign on authentication is how it improves the user experience. If users only have to remember a single set of login details for their identity provider, it means they’ll become less tired of having to fill out multiple passwords. This shouldn’t be overlooked as a benefit, especially as users may be dealing with a great number of login credentials without SSO.

Secondly, security is incredibly important for business and having a single password means users can put more creativity into making theirs far longer and more unique. Additionally, having to only input a password once will reduce the chance of a user’s login information being successfully spied on.

Lastly, as far as IT departments are concerned, the less they hear from employees who have forgotten their usernames and passwords, the better. Obviously, only having one password to remember will reduce the amount IT teams will have to deal with this, but there’s more to it than that. If an employee leaves an organisation, SSO authentication makes it very easy to revoke access to restricted resources.

What are the cons for business?

The first major issue with single sign on authentication is giving one set of logins credentials the potentially to unlock a number of different enterprise resources. Unfortunately, this greatly increases the potential damage that a successful security breach could do.

Another flaw in SSO lies in how enterprises are dependent on an identity provider’s capability to remain functional at all times. If an identity provider suffers from an outage or something similar then users will be unable to login and this could cost businesses time, productivity, and profit.

The final con to consider relates to the investment needed in order to establish SSO at a business. Frustratingly, there can be technical difficulties when trying to link your identity provider with a service provider. However, this may only hold up your timeline rather than being a burdensome expense.

Would you like to learn more about what is single sign on? For further information, please contact us now. 

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