Australian workers are using more cloud-based applications and services than ever before, especially given the rise of remote working. However, this means more accounts to manage and secure, which poses some challenges. For starters, users will need to create dozens of passwords and log into their accounts separately every time. There’s also no guarantee that users will be diligent to set strong passwords across their accounts, which could easily trigger a full-scale data breach.
One of the best solutions for these issues is single sign-on.
What is Single Sign-On?
SSO is an authentication process that enables users to access multiple applications with one set of login credentials. When users log in using SSO, the system will verify their credentials (i.e., usernames and passwords) against the company’s identity management database. If the login attempt is successful, the SSO system generates an access token as a temporary pass. These access tokens enable full authentication of the applications and services.
Finally, users are then granted access to their desired app or service, eliminating the need for users to enter individual passwords for various accounts. From a productivity standpoint, this saves users a lot of time because they’re not constantly prompted to enter their credentials.
Why Do Businesses Need Single Sign-On?
Beyond the convenience and productivity benefits SSO provides, it also offers cybersecurity benefits. Here are several reasons why SSO is an effective security measure:
1. It promotes strong passwords
A strong password is over 12 characters long with a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. These passwords are much more difficult for hackers to guess or crack with brute force attacks, but they are more challenging to remember, especially when users have several accounts. As a result, many users prioritise convenience over security by setting simple and weak passwords. With SSO, users only have to focus on creating one long and complex password, so they’re less likely to select easy-to-guess combinations for practicality’s sake.
2. It reduces password fatigue
Password fatigue occurs when users have to set and manage passwords for multiple accounts. While most users can easily remember three or four strong passwords, they’re bound to experience issues when they’re required to sign up for dozens of new apps and services. This often leads to users cutting corners by recycling passwords across several accounts, which is a major security risk. If cybercriminals manage to compromise a recycled password, they’ll be able to access all of the accounts associated with that password.
SSO is the best solution against password fatigue because users only have to set and remember one password. That means they won’t have to reuse passwords or write these down somewhere.
3. It enables streamlined multifactor authentication (MFA)
MFA requires users to provide more than one set of login credentials to verify their identity. In addition, users may need to provide a fingerprint scan, facial ID, or one-time passcodes generated by an authenticator app to access accounts. Although MFA provides an additional layer of security, the extra steps required to log in can quickly become a nuisance for users.
However, when used alongside single sign-on, MFA won’t have such drawbacks. Instead of activating MFA for separate accounts, SSO enables users to log in through MFA in just one place. This way, users only need to enter their multiple login credentials once to access all the apps and services associated with their account.
4. It makes password policies easier to enforce
SSO doesn’t just make life easier for users; it also helps you enforce password policies. For example, you can use SSO services to establish company-wide password requirements when users set their passwords. These password requirements can impose minimum character length, and encourage the inclusion of symbols and numbers. Also, it forbid users from recycling old passwords. Administrators can even limit the number of login attempts through SSO, so cyber criminals don’t have unlimited guesses into company accounts.
5. It saves time on password recovery
Since users only have to remember one password, system administrators won’t have to spend so much time helping users recover and reset forgotten passwords. Instead, administrators can focus on more pressing IT issues and projects that ultimately benefit your company.
6. It rounds out access management strategies
To strengthen your company’s cybersecurity, users should only have access to the services they need for their job. SSO is crucial because it centralises authentication and access across different apps. When combined with MFA and role-based access controls, SSO can thoroughly verify someone’s identity and determine which accounts they are authorised to use.
If security is a top priority for your business, you’ll need to implement SSO. We at Empower IT have partnered with reliable security providers like Duo to help you set up SSO and fortify your security framework. Call us now to get started.