TechTalkTuesday: Single Sign-On

Welcome to #TechTalkTuesday – where tech terms are defined, explained, and no longer a mystery. 

Today we’re discussing single sign-on (SSO) and what it means for your cybersecurity efforts. 

 Single sign-on, often referred to simply as SSO, is an authentication tool for users. SSO enables the user to securely access several services, websites, and applications with a single set of logon credentials. 

SSO will provide the user with a login page or a pop-up widget that allows you to use one username and one password to access each of the integrated services, sites, or apps.  

What does this look like for you? Let’s say you typically log into ten services, sites, or apps on any given day. Instead of needing to enter in ten sets of login credentials on that day, SSO will securely provide you the way to log in using just one set of log in credentials.  

SSO helps to eliminate the need to remember and enter in multiple passwords across multiple sites and services. It also helps to eliminate the frustration that can accompany needing to frequently reset forgotten or lost passwords. As a user, you will be able to access a number of apps, services, sites, and platforms, without the need to log into each one, each time. 

SSO basics

Single sign-on uses federated identity as its foundation. Federated identity is the sharing of specific identity attributes over multiple trusted and autonomous systems. That is, when a user has established trust with one system, they will be granted automatic access to any other systems that have a trusted relationship with the first system.  

SSO can be beneficial for small organizations, enterprises, and individuals looking to make username and password management easier. 

What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of SSO?

Some of the potential advantages of SSO may include the following. 

  • Enabling users to better manager usernames and passwords by reducing the number of login credentials that need to be remembered. 
  • Streamlining of the sign-on process by reducing the need to enter in passwords. 
  • A reduction in the risks associated with phishing.  

Some of the potential disadvantages to SSO may include the following. 

  • If the user loses access to their SSO then they could potentially be locked out of each of the systems that is linked to the SSO. 
  • If a bad actor gains access to the SSO credentials they could potentially gain access to each of the linked systems. 

 

SSO offers added convenience to users looking to simplify their daily online routine. It’s important however to take steps to reduce the changes of malicious address. This can be accomplished by integrating two-factor authentication or multifactor authentication.   

Looking to learn more? Stay tuned for our upcoming white paper on SSO, where we deep dive into this fascinating topic.