Your Guide to Single Sign-On (SSO): A Look at the Pros and Cons for Business Leaders

close-up of a computer login screen saying "Welcome! Please enter your Username and Password to login" to illustrate single sign-on.At this point, most people understand the importance of maintaining secure passwords and not using the same one across multiple accounts. However, that’s easier said than done, given how many passwords we must keep track of these days: As of 2019, the average small business employee had to manage 85 different passwords, while those at larger companies dealt with 25 on average, according to the 3rd Annual Global Password Security Report by LastPass.

Faced with juggling numerous login credentials, it makes sense that many employees struggle to make them all unique, hard to guess and highly secure. The majority (51 percent) of IT professionals and IT security practitioners in the U.S. say it’s difficult to manage all their passwords, according to the 2019 State of Password Authentication Security Behaviors Report from the Ponemon Institute and Yubico.

What can businesses do to make it easier for their staff members to wrangle all those passwords? A password manager is one option that takes away the stress of remember dozens of different logins across various accounts. Another solution is single sign-on (SSO), a type of technology that allows end users to access various accounts/applications with just one set of credentials.

If you’re searching for a way to make proper password management easier for your team, here’s an overview of all the essential info you should consider about SSO solutions, including the potential advantages as well as disadvantages for your organization.

How Single Sign-On Works

SSO is a kind of Federated Identity Management (FIM), also known as identity federation, according to Citrix. A FIM is an agreement between a group of enterprises that allows users to access each enterprise’s network with a single set of credentials.

There are a few different SSO protocols out there that allow people to link their identity across a range of secure domains:

    • OAuth allows third parties like Facebook to sign you in to other sites through the use of tokens, without providing your password.
    • Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) allows for the exchange of authentication and authorization data via secure domains.
    • Kerberos is a protocol that uses ticket-granting tickets (TGTs) or time-stamped authentication tickets.

The Benefits of SSO

Individuals and businesses choose to rely on SSO services for various reasons, including the following:

    • Better end user experience (UX): With SSO in place, you team members won’t have to stress as much about password management or take the time to manually log in to as many accounts, increasing their productivity.
    • Lower security threat levels: Because SSO decreases the number of credentials in use, it can also lower the odds of compromise via hacking tactics like phishing, Citrix states.

Drawbacks of SSO

Although this IT solution can improve UX and make your team members’ workdays easier and more efficient, there are some potential downsides you should consider as well.

    • Cybersecurity risks: The most serious disadvantage of SSO is that if the credentials a staff member uses to access multiple accounts get stolen, hackers will then have the ability to get into more than one application at once, according to TechTarget SearchSecurity. That’s why it’s important to always pair SSO with two-factor authentication for an extra layer of protection.
    • Compatibility issues: Another roadblock you can run into when trying to implement SSO for your business is the fact that not all applications support this service, the CSO article states.

Find Out if SSO Is Right for Your Business

Ultimately, whether SSO is the right fit for your organization depends on the specific service as well as your organization’s needs and goals. Our team of expert techs can assess your business requirements and help you determine if this type of solution could benefit your company. Learn more today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing

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