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The Business Case for Single Sign-On (SSO)

Where SSO solutions once connected employees solely to web applications, these solutions now connect employees to all the resources they need, including systems and networks.

Regardless of the single sign-on solution an organization uses, though, SSO increases the organization’s flexibility, time management, and security.

Evolution of SSO

What we think of as the first generation of IDaas (Identity-as-a-Service) platforms emerged in the late 2000s as web application single sign-on solutions.

These solutions enabled IT admins to maintain their core, authoritative directory — typically Microsoft® Active Directory® — in on-prem servers. With SSO, admins federated their AD identities to web applications, rather than recreating each identity in each application. This meant less work for IT admins, easier access for employees, and increased security. 

Originally, SSO solutions were designed as a way to extend identities to web applications, but some now expand beyond applications to include other resources. As any employee knows, web applications comprise only one portion of the tools they use each day. They also access files, networks (i.e. WiFi/VPNs), and systems (Windows®, Mac®, or Linux®). Unbeknownst to end users, they use a variety of protocols and mechanisms, including LDAP, SAML, and RADIUS, to do so.

Organizations now have the choice of layering a modern approach to SSO on top of their on-prem directory or integrating it into a comprehensive cloud directory. Stack Analysis acknowledged this dichotomy in a research brief and recommended IT admins take stock of their organizations’ approach to identity management in selecting their SSO path.

In either choice they make, IT admins find numerous benefits in SSO, though.

Benefits of SSO

Flexible and Customizable

With an SSO solution, IT admins leverage a portal for employees to access their authorized applications. This increases flexibility because admins can create groups and automate access management with tailored permissions for each employee depending on their role, location, department, and other factors. With a click, admins can change access settings for groups and applications.

SSO solutions also come with pre-built connectors to popular applications, as well as generic connectors for admins (Read more…)

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