15 Sep Single Sign On and how can it effect your organisation – What is it?
The world we live in is dominated by a digital presence that is constantly evolving and showing no signs of slowing down – this digital presence has applied some serious pressure to IT teams in organisations all over the globe. Stress is obviously a factor in every business in the modern world but, coupled with the problems that come from using the digital tools that saturate it, is only making matters worse. One of the key factors that is making IT teams’ lives more difficult is the rapid increase in cyber threats and cyber criminality – unfortunately, these are becoming normal occurrences for firms of all sizes, so it is not surprising that IT personnel are struggling to perform all their duties as efficiently and timely as they once did.
Single Sign On has the power to take some of that strain off the shoulders of your IT team, in turn allowing them to concentrate on the tasks that are more important to the prolonged survival and growth of the organisation.
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. By doing this you make the process of logging in much easier for you and your team. It also lessens the likelihood of passwords being forgotten (which can make a real difference to the effective use of time when your team are failing to remember them).
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. This allows the authentication flow to follow the same steps. In layman’s terms, the system remembers that you got the password right moments ago on the original site and, in turn, – to save you time – allows you access to the others.
A major concern often queried around SSO is ‘will it make me less secure’ – and, with cyber criminality rising exponentially, we can’t blame people for having fears. Let’s explore SSO in detail and find out what effects – if any – it will have on the security of your organisation.
Does it make my organisation more – or less – secure?
Businesses everywhere are constantly giving their team members access to different applications – on average a firm allows access to an average of 15 applications at any one time. Alongside these applications comes the thousands of other web apps available that your employees can sign up to and use whenever they like. It’s good your team are using their initiative, isn’t it? Yes, but not in this instance as this is being done without the IT team’s knowledge – and that isn’t good. With the volume of apps on the market in the modern world reaching such high numbers, this has created further challenges for IT Teams no matter the industry they reside in, especially when you consider all the passwords and the variety of other tasks that they must complete. This is an unenviable task – 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.
Single sign on is a double-edged sword – the features that make it revolutionary are also the ones that make it a vulnerable feature of your technological landscape. The ease of use it gives your employees (by allowing them to access apps with just one log-in) can also be accessible to hackers. 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 act as Gatekeepers for your systems. So, when an employee signs in, their authentication passes through the SSO server which then passes on the credentials for authorising that person to use the app.
There are also other ways of making your systems more secure. You can implement multi-factor or two-factor authentication – by implementing one of these you will be improving the levels of security of your organisation quite considerably. 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 scenario.
Your IT Specialists
At Netcom, we are well-versed in helping companies in various sectors navigate the often mystifying, jargon-filled, world of IT. With over 15 years’ experience and covering virtually all aspects of business IT, we can help guide your business to a prosperous future with the right IT at your side every step of the way. We can help you deploy cutting edge solutions that will not only help you weather the storm that is modern IT but also keep your business at the top of its game post-pandemic and beyond.