Many businesses are switching towards a single sign-on solution for their online platforms. But what is Single sign-on, and how do you know whether it’s the right solution for your organisation?

What is Single Sign On?

Single sign-on, also known as SSO, is a system whereby individuals are able to use the same log in details (username, password, answers to questions etc) to access multiple platforms. Single sign on solutions mean that you don’t need a separate username and password for everything you log in to, and allows you to switch from one platform to another without the hassle of having to go through a sign in process.

Advantages of Single Sign On

Easier Collaboration: Rapid transfer of information between parties is crucial for collaboration between partnered firms. With a system of single sign on in place, it becomes much easier for businesses to engage in efficient collaboration. Different business will often make use of different platforms, and so the ability that SSO gives collaborators to smoothly switch from one platform to another is invaluable here. In addition, oversight becomes easier, as management of authentication is centralised.

Lower Assistance Costs: The majority of issues that help desks have to process are requests for password reset. Having multiple passwords makes it much easier for people to forget them. The need to reset so frequently wastes time, and the costs can quickly mount. The increase in security engendered by moving towards stronger authentication systems has made the burden on help desks even greater, and this trend is unsustainable. Moving to SSO will allow for an increase in security without intensifying the strain on help desk services.

Happier Customers and Employees: Having to remember and accurately enter a large number of different usernames and passwords when switching between platforms is not a pleasant experience for your customers or your employees. Switching to an SSO based system will improve both customer and employee satisfaction. Having a less burdensome sign-in process could be the little nudge that you need to put your business above the rest.

Disadvantages of Single Sign-On

Questions About Security: The obvious downside to implementing SSO is a potential weakening of security. If you only need one set of log in credentials for all your platforms, then the theft of this information could result in all of your platforms being compromised in one fell swoop. One way to get around this is to implement two factor authentification, where a second element such as a fingerprint scan or a code generated by a PIN sentry is required in addition to the password.

Data Protection Worries: Unless you plan to handle your SSO completely in-house, which is not really feasible for most companies, implementing such a system will involve placing a large amount of trust in a third party. This might not be an issue, especially if the third party organisation has better security capabilities than your own firm, but it is worth being cautious nonetheless.

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