31 May Single Sign On (SSO) – What is it and how does it work?
The world is now saturated with technical tools, our digital presence has reached levels that we will never slowdown from, and it is this presence that has put pressure on our IT teams. Stress is a factor in every work day, but, coupled with various digital problems, matters are only getting worse.
The rise in cyber threats and cyber criminality are the main issues which are making the lives of our IT teams difficult. They are becoming common practice in firms all over the globe – regardless of business size, IT personnel are finding it exceedingly difficult to perform their daily tasks to the standard at which they had become accustomed.
That is where Single Sign On (SSO) comes in. As it has the power to relieve the stresses of your IT team, they will be able to concentrate on the tasks that are important and will actually affect the ability of the business to survive and thrive – not just worry about cyber security all the time.
Single Sign On – What is it?
Single Sign On (SSO) allows your users to log in to any related software system with a single username and password. The process of logging in is much easier for you and your team. It also lessens the likelihood of passwords being forgotten, which we all know can take some time when starting work each day.
How does it work?
Once having already accessed a website using SSO, the user can then enter a different website that has the same relationship with the SSO solution. The authentication flow automatically allows it to follow the same steps. Simply, the system remembers that the password inputted moments ago was correct and, in turn, – to save you time – it grants access to other sites.
Business owners immediately jump to the conclusion that it will make them less secure, and to a degree – with cyber criminality rising exponentially – they wouldn’t be wrong to have those fears at the forefront of their minds. So, what effects – if any – does SSO have on cyber security?
Does it make my organisation more – or less – secure?
Our teams have access to many different applications – with these come thousands of web-based apps that your team can sign up to at will and with relative ease. You want your team to use their initiative of course, but most won’t think of cyber security as their main concern. Anything that changes the IT environment must be reported to the IT team, and this simply isn’t happening. The volume of apps on the market is in the millions, and this abundance has created further challenges for IT teams, because the sheer number of passwords alone would be enough but, combined with the other tasks they must complete, it can all too easily become too much to handle.
An unenviable task to say the least – there is no room for error because the entire network must be protected, along with everything that resides on it. Giving employees a way of using just one sign on (SSO) solves the IT problem of having to manage too many passwords.
SSO is its own worst enemy, as the features that make it revolutionary are the same ones that bring vulnerabilities to your entire technical landscape. Allowing your team to access apps with just one log-in can render that log-in – and in turn your entire landscape – vulnerable.
You must guarantee that your IT team have full identity governance to be sure that SSO is as secure as possible. Many companies tackle this issue by adopting a centralised identity authenticator on special servers, in turn allowing them to function as Gatekeepers for your systems. So, when an employee signs in, their authentication passes through the SSO server which then forwards on the credentials for authorising that person to use the app.
There are also other ways of making your systems more secure. Multi-factor or two-factor authentication can be implemented – one or both of these will dramatically improve the levels of security possible in your organisation. Both will require your team to prove their identity through one or more additional factors but, having done this once, they can then use their SSO login.
Obviously, if a cyber criminal tries to attack your system it is beneficial to have these defences in place in order to avoid the worst-case scenarios.
Modern technology to help you thrive securely
Technology is pivotal to your business and we want you to understand the value it provides when it is allowed to work seamlessly with your operations on the most updated tools available. Apogee values transparency and simplicity – we provide the IT support you need when you need it. Within this support is the guarantee that your technology is secure against all manner of cyber threats, that it is operationally beneficial to the way you run your business and is always updated to the latest version. We will work alongside you and guide you into a secure, brighter future with technology as your ally. Contact us now to find out how we can help you.