Business, Software Development

SS0 101: What is it and How to Use It

SSO stands for ‘single sign in’ which – as its name suggests – is a facility whereby users can sign in (or login) just once by using a single password and other login details to access an entire system and its parts such as an app, portal, or specific database.

SSO is designed to make signing into a system easier for the user as there’s only one password to remember, easier for the systems administrators since there are less time consuming resets when users forget a password or having to undertake multiple deletions of them when certain people are no longer allowed access – such as when staff leave the organisation.

A simple form of SSO can be found with a Google account: one login allows users access to various Google features such as Drive, Maps, Gmail and so forth.

Is One Password More Risky?

At first, you may think one system-wide password may be less secure than people having to log in separately to access other functions such as a portal or an app.

The reverse is usually the case: with too many passwords to remember ‘password fatigue’ can set in where people become frustrated and weary of keying in multiple passwords and having to remember which password accesses what app, portal, database or similar.

This can give rise to wrong passwords being entered so meaning systems admins have to reset them, or users become careless with their security by leaving notes hidden with passwords written on – and setting perhaps the same, easily remembered (and thus more easily hacked) passwords for different logins.

You may also think implementing SSO is a major undertaking, but with the help of experienced tech consultants and software developers such as Objective enhanced security is well within reach.

More Efficient Password Security

With only one password to remember and use, it’s more likely people will set one that is difficult to hack: for example, not spelling out an actual word or using consecutive numbers and using plenty of characters and symbols. It’s easier for system admins as they only have to reset one password if the user forgets it or when setting new passwords periodically as part of general security housekeeping.

Another benefit of using a single login is in enhancing security with an extra authentication method: for example, not only requiring a password and username but perhaps a code generated to a mobile device – like how some banks control access to online banking. Using extra authentication across several different log ins would be highly convoluted and inconvenient.

Moving with the times

Another reason for SSO becoming more widespread is the need to simplify things ‘under the hood’ from a systems perspective. If log ins to each part of a system are required then each part requires an IAM (Identity and Access Management) set up: a repository of users’ login details so they can be compared to what is keyed in by the user to allow or deny access.

As systems grow larger and more involved, the number and size of IAM per app, portal and so on grows and becomes something that in itself requires management and maintenance and can compromise security as various IAM structures are being relied on.

Far better to have one single IAM to control login security for all the systems and functionality users may require access to.

The IAM platform

So in using SSO login security, a suitable IAM platform is required: legacy log in security systems likely won’t do the heavy lifting required to provide the full security and functionality with a good SSO set up requires.

There are various IAM platforms available, and here the help of an experienced IT consultant might be the best course of action. They can help in your choosing the best platform – or maybe create your own bespoke one based on your requirements – and implement it and integrate it into your system to provide the best in SSO security.

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