The single sign-on (SSO) market is on fire these days. Last month alone, keyword research reveals that SSO had been searched over 40,000 times. You might be wondering, why SSO? Why are people interested in single sign-on, and why should you use it? What’s the benefit? Well the quick answer is that SSO is highly sought after because it greatly impacts security and productivity within an organization. We will dive deeper into these benefits, but before we do, we need to quickly go through an SSO 101, if you will, to understand what single sign-on is and why SSO is needed in the first place.
Single Sign-on 101
What is Single Sign-On?
Single sign-on is the idea that a user only has to log in once to access all of their applications; they don’t have to type their username and password in each individual application. Typically, SSO is delivered via a third-party tool like Okta® or Onelogin, and most are dependent on you having an identity provider (IdP) in place.
How SSO Works
First, an SSO solution needs to be integrated into your existing directory service infrastructure usually using the LDAP protocol. Then, it typically uses the SAML protocol to exchange authentication and authorization information between the identity provider and web-based applications (or service provider in SAML parlance). You’re probably wondering, why do you need a directory service in the mix? Why not just use SSO?
If you are solely using web-based applications in your environment, you might be able to get by with just using an SSO solution. However, the majority of organizations also use systems, file storage, and networks to accomplish their daily work. Since a single sign-on platform focuses centrally on web-based applications, you need a directory service if you hope to centralize user access to the rest of your IT network. Further, SSO solutions have taken their identities from the on-prem directory service already existing rather than being a directory services solution themselves. So, why do directory services need help connecting users to web-based applications in the first place?
Why SSO was Needed
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