Single Sign-On and why your organization needs it!

Single Sign-On (SSO) is a session and user authentication service where one set of credentials – typically a username and password – can be used by an organization’s users to access multiple apps. 

SSO delivers tighter control for admins, helping to keep an organization’s data more secure by providing access only to users who really need it. At the same time, it makes operations more secure at the user level too – when users don’t need to remember a large number of credentials, they would be more willing to use stronger passwords.

Besides its inherent security, SSO also simplifies provisioning and de-provisioning, which in effect also increases security by preventing unauthorized access to apps and data.

How secure is your SSO?

Some misconceptions also exist regarding SSO – key among them is that SSO leads to an increased security risk, almost like putting all your eggs in one basket. After all, with one system controlling access across all of an organization’s applications, what if that single system is compromised?

It is therefore important to understand that SSO functions through a system of secure tokens which do not carry any sensitive data, making it a very safe proposition. We’ll explore exactly how this works, and how these tokens ensure security, later in this article.

What are SSO tokens and how do they work?

SSO tokens are tiny sets of digitally signed structured information to ensure mutual trust between parties.

It’s like an exclusive club with select invitees, where guards at the entrance check, approve, and stamp each guest’s hand. Event staff will know the exact shape and color of the stamp used and therefore authenticate the entry. Similarly, in the digital world, the service and identity providers communicate via tokens.

Tokens don’t include sensitive data like user’s password or biometric information, ensuring that any interception or attack on the tokens does not reveal the information. The same token can be used to add on new services to the same SSO platform as well. It facilitates identity verification separately from other cloud services, making SSO possible.

Data Security through SSO

SSO improves enterprise security as it reduces the number of attack surfaces because users only log in once each day and only use one set of credentials. 

It also significantly reduces the possibilities of password-related hacks. With SSO, users only need to remember one password for all their applications. So, they are more likely to create complex and hard-to-guess passwords. They are also less likely to reuse passwords or write them down.

Another reason SSO is popular among enterprises is that it allows scaling up. Both access to new apps and addition of new people can be managed without sacrificing security, because identity and access management are already addressed. And rapid provisioning and deprovisioning without needing to worry about human error means more reliable and secure access management.

For added security, SSO can also be paired with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), where additional factors of authentication are required beyond just the user’s password, to reconfirm the identity of the user.

Akku incorporates robust and secure token-based SSO functionality, helping to deliver greater security and efficiency. Contact us today for more information.

Is dependence on AD holding back your provisioning & deprovisioning?

Active Directory is quite simply the most popular identity management solution for enterprises in the world. An incredible ~90% of the Global Fortune 1000 companies use Active Directory as their primary method of authentication! 

Does your organization, like so many others, manage user identity with Active Directory (AD) too? If so, we’re guessing you have probably run into trouble with provisioning and deprovisioning for users across your environment. AD is great for identity management, but it was never built to act as a single sign-on (SSO) platform.

Challenges with AD for Provisioning & Deprovisioning

What this means is that either provisioning and deprovisioning would need to be performed for each application and user individually, or else, for Active Directory to be used to control access and permissions, each application would need to be integrated with AD separately. 

With the average enterprise running 1295 cloud-based applications, both these options seem like pretty poor choices. The former option is a tremendous drain on productivity for both admins and users, while the latter presents a host of complexities and costs to integrate AD with each of your apps.

IAM to the rescue!

So how do you get over these challenges? The answer lies in deploying an Identity & Access Management (IAM) solution that includes single sign-on (SSO) functionality.

Essentially, the IAM would act as an intermediate layer between your AD and your applications. So the IAM solution would need to integrate with Active Directory on the one side, and with all of your organization’s applications on the other. 

Through integration with your applications, the IAM can bring them all onto a single common platform and act as the Identity Provider (IdP) across your environment. Since most modern IAM solutions use SAML-based integrations with applications, these integrations are far less complex and expensive to implement than directly integrating AD to each application.

And secondly, integrating the IAM with AD would allow you to continue to manage identity – and now access permissions too – on AD itself.

Benefits of an IAM integrated with AD

At the end of this process, you would be able to control identity and access across your environment on Active Directory, giving you a familiar interface and process with enhanced functionality. 

Single-point control for your admins, and single-point access for your users, mean simple, fast provisioning and deprovisioning for IT and HR teams, saving them a tremendous amount of time and effort. 

Not to mention easy access to all permitted applications for users, helping to make them more productive too.

Akku is a powerful Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution by CloudNow that is built to play well with Active Directory, and also to integrate seamlessly with virtually any of your business applications. Call us today to see how Akku could enhance productivity and security at your organization!