Single Sign-On Definition

KZero Staff
Oct 18, 2023

Single sign-on authentication, or SSO, is one of many ways users can access information and log in to their accounts. It is a centralized authentication method that allows users to access multiple applications without logging into each one individually. SSO allows users to submit login credentials once and gain access to various applications.

How Does Single Sign-On Work

An example of an SSO is when a user logs into a single Google service, such as Gmail, which automatically authenticates the user for other Google services (YouTube, Calendar, and other Google apps). Websites and other applications offer single sign-on methods to create accounts by signing on to an existing social media account. Below is a step-by-step process of how SSO works:

  • User initiates access to an application or website that runs SSO
  • The user’s browser is redirected to the identity provider
  • The user enters their login information at the identity provider
  • The identity provider authenticates the user’s login information and creates an authentication token
  • The identity provider returns the authentication token to the user’s browser
  • The user’s browser is redirected back to the application or website
  • The application or website sends the authentication token to the identity provider
  • The identity provider validates the authentication token and gives the user access to the application or website

Advantages of Single Sign-On

SSO has many advantages that include:

  • Password efficiency: SSO streamlines the usage of password management across numerous services. SSO also reduces the need for password repetition and acts as a single point for enforcing password re-entry.
  • Secure if combined with strong passwords: Passwords are crucial for benefiting from the advantages of SSO. Passwords are the main culprit in breaches, as a recent Verizon report shows that 81% of breaches result from weak, stolen, or misused passwords. SSO reduces the risks of breaches by encouraging users to use strong passwords and only requiring one set of login credentials to access multiple accounts and data. Utilizing robust passwords along with SSO may help meet regulatory compliance for data access and security risk protection and Demonstrate adequate security measures to protect sensitive data.
  • User productivity: Another vital advantage of single sign-on is increased user productivity, which benefits businesses and entities that use this technology. Users can easily access enterprise apps with a single click while eliminating managing, remembering, and resetting multiple passwords. SSO improves productivity with higher conversion rates without compromising security and time allotment.

Disadvantages of Single Sign-On

Although SSO has advantages, it also has some disadvantages that users need to take into account:

  • The reliance on passwords can make SSO ineffective in securing information and data and increasing productivity.
  • The possibility of human error combined with weak passwords is one of the main drawbacks of SSO.
KZero Staff

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