Single Sign On


Single Sign On commonly abbreviated to SSO is the process of using one system login for multiple applications. For example using a SSO system to log into your SaaS office applications, Facebook and LinkedIn service without having to access each site and entering your password details.

Single Sign On provides simplicity for the end-user, but used correctly it is a manageable way of maintaining very strong with special characters and numbering rather than those that are just easy to remember.  This provides greater security so that anyone trying to access your web based applications will not be able to crack the passwords if accessing directly.

There are some compelling advantages for businesses and users accessing systems using a single-sign-on package, we have listed out the main advantages’ below.

  • Create strong unique passwords 
Each application within the single sign on system is accessed using a strong password combination, with the user required to access systems using one memorable password.
  • Ease of administration
Your IT team have a single place to manage and delete passwords. An example could be an employee leaving; this would usually require multiple systems to be accessed to revoke usage. In a Single Sign On solution you would only need to revoke the password for the single sign on system.
  • Premise-based or Cloud based
Your Single Sign On solution may be based in your premises or on a cloud provider’s hosted system.
  • Reduce help desk calls
Password resets requests for accessing different systems will be a thing of the past with only one single password required for all systems.
  • Support for two-factor authentication
Two factor authentication systems require a token with a uniquely changing numerical code and password to access the system. Using two factor authentications provides enhanced password access services to your end users.

As with all new technologies there are things to keep in mind and take into consideration when selecting your single sign on provider.

  • Standards based
The goal of any single sign on solution is one central password to access all systems and services. Check if your provider is based on the latest standards such as OpenID or SAML v2, and check interoperability with your cloud provider systems. For example if your organisation uses SalesForce or Google Documents check that your SSO system will be able to authenticate and allow access.
  • Access to internal systems
ADFS or active domain federation services allow access to Microsoft environments and provides replication of your current user permissions. Check your SSO supplier supports internal system authentication or what would be required to ‘enable’ your systems for SSO.
  • Process for password retrieval
Should your computer users lose their SSO password what is the process needed to authenticate back onto the system? What support policy is offered by the SSO vendor?
  • Supplier redundancy
If your using a Cloud based single sign on service, you should always check what systems your provider has in situ to ensure failover in the event of a hardware or system crash.
  • Supplier Service Level Agreement (SLA)
In the event of a support request or downtime what is the supplier’s written service level agreement and compensation policy?
At Compare the Cloud, we’re here to help you get started and to help you identify suitable single sign on providers to evaluate and work with.  Take a few minutes to tell us about your company in our Cloud Comparison Tool, and we’ll present you with some informed options – and help you take full advantage of what single sign on can offer your organisation.

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