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Single Sign-On is Important for Your Organizational Security

Article by Daniyal Ghaffar in  - December 25, 2020

Introduction

The technological boom has innovated business models over the last decade. Manual workplace operations and functions have been replaced with automation processes. The introduction of cloud computing services has digitalized the business practices. Nowadays, a small to medium-sized business or enterprise using business automation solutions deploys a large number of cloud services. Along with that, hundreds to thousands of users or employees accessing these services through distinct multiple accounts every day would require keeping a record of a long list of passwords. In association with the protection of these passwords, it imposes a great risk on the security of these credentials. As per the Adweek reports, almost 73% of the users keep a duplicate password for different accounts. It imposes yet another security breach risk on the user end.

In this way, the secure management of this massive number of passwords and other credentials as well as user data is a challenging and proactive task for the IT administration of any business. In order to cope with the problem and increase the security of the business, technologists have introduced the concept of Single Sign-On. With the implementation of Single Sign-On, business management can not only improve their IT security but can also enhance the user experience while cutting down other costs along with it. The further text will discuss how Single Sign-On SSO works and how it is crucial to strengthen the security of a business.

What is Single Sign-On SSO?

As evident from the name, Single Sign-On is a technique that enables the users to access different login based platforms, apps and websites from a unified login ID and password in just a single step. Consequently, SSO streamlines the process for the users and makes it easier for them to access multiple platforms and the associated data without having to create and keep the credentials’ record for each one of them. This is essential because it also removes the additional login step which speeds up the pace of work and employees feel more comfortable and secure to interact on web platforms. With Single Sign-On, the users can work seamlessly and move from different pages and websites in an automated fashion. A third party functions as a centralized authenticator in case of SSO that automates and grants the requisite access to the users wherever needed. SSO is the swiftest solution for the companies and organizations whereby employees have to deal and interact on multiple programs, channels, platforms and web-based applications.

Single Sign-On

The SSO system has an analogy with your citizen card. Whenever you visit a place in your country that requires authentication, you do not have to identify yourself with personal details separately, rather a number on your ID card corresponds to your identity details and you are all set to proceed. SSO works in a similar fashion by providing the websites with a centralized identification that works sufficiently to enable you to use the services of the very website.

SSO has a wide range of applications and it can be easily implemented to both the consumer-based industries as well as in corporate organizations. For instance, if you use Google, or Facebook to sign in on other applications and websites without creating a separate login credential for that particular app, then you are basically using the consumer end SSO technology. In this way, the sign-in process can be made fast and simple while taking the burden of authentication and identity providence off the third-party service providers.

Why SSO is Important for Organizational Security?

If an organization does not use an SSO service, the authentication process is prolonged and your platform will have to keep a whole lot of private database to maintain the user credentials securely. This data-keeping along with the management of the data from other cloud services poses a data strain on your organization and that is when the data hackers attack the most. With the installation of SSO services, the organizations can get rid of the problems such as database security risks, high management costs, data management and storage of bulk volume, and inefficiencies associated with it.

Additionally, SSO also reduces the help desk activities associated with password reset requests. As per the stats of Gartner, almost 50% of the requests to IT helpdesk are related to password reset requests. This time can be saved up using SSO and IT services can dedicate this time in the optimization of other processes.

There is a greater risk to the security of an organization as it grows. Because the integration of the tools and services from time to time leaves the gaps for the data hackers to operate. With the cloud-based business automation services, average companies and businesses use a large number of third-party apps and it poses a greater risk of leaks in the way. The implementation of SSO technique renders the navigation process for employees on these cloud-based as well as on-premise apps swift and fast. Similarly, instead of spending on improving and securing the databases containing sensitive credentials data of hundreds of thousands of users, you can outsource this daunting task to a third-party SSO service provider that has much more expertise and load the responsibility of sensitive data management off your company.   

One of the most important benefits of implementing SSO solutions is that your organization can integrate it with the risk-based authentication often called RBA. Combining SSO with RBA creates an additional layer of security on the sensitive data of your users. What risk-based authentication basically does is that it monitors the user patterns and behaviours over time. Hence, when an abnormal request is prompted by the user, it is blocked by the security department and an authentication requirement is initiated before proceeding further. Some abnormal activities include multiple incorrect login attempts, suspicious or remote IP address, backup download or erase requests or requests to change the basic profile data of the user such as date of birth or user ID.       

 Conclusion

SSO provides users with one set of login credentials and in turn reduces the password related IT requests, cybercrimes associated with data leaks, and strain of sensitive data management at the end of your organization’s responsibilities. It is in the best interests of an organization to implement an SSO service especially if its employees have to interact and perform over multiple online platforms and apps. The sooner you implement SSO in your organization, the quicker you optimize the user experience and mitigate the password fatigue concerns.

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