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How Single Sign-On Helps to Control the Flow of Information

Companies are ramping up their adopting of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service applications. Public cloud spending is expected to reach over $206 billion in 2019. Large enterprises could even be using over a thousand cloud applications within their organizations. Businesses are also putting up bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives that allow staff members to access these applications through their own personal devices in order to promote productivity.

However, many of these applications are now conceived to be highly specialized, so teams often use several applications to cover their required functionalities. You might use one tool for tinkering with API simulations, another for data prep, and a third tool for creating data visualization elements that will eventually go into your reports.

Because of this granular specialization trend, which often produces SaaS products with just one functionality, users often have to switch from one application to another as they progress through their workflows, creating fragmented user experiences.

Increasing SaaS adoption has also made IT management and tracking the flow of key information, quite the challenge for organizations. When tools are procured on a self-service basis by end users and accessed via web browsers on multiple devices, instead of via installed apps on single workstations, IT departments simply don’t have the same level of visibility and control that they used to.

What’s more, cloud services typically require unique login credentials for each user, but due to the number of services that are used, users often succumb to password reuse – a security taboo these days, when we consider that this can expose them to potential threats. Malicious actors use previously compromised credentials to gain access to systems, so if a compromised password has been reused, chances are that multiple accounts will be hacked.

To overcome these challenges, organizations are increasingly turning to solutions like single sign-on (SSO) tools. With SSO, a user only needs to log in once in order to gain access to various applications and services. Take Google’s G Suite, for example. By logging in to one Google identity account, employees can quickly and conveniently access the services within the ecosystem like Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Docs, and YouTube without having to re-enter their credentials.

Interestingly, SSO has become an increasingly common feature for many cloud applications and services today. Other technology platforms and ecosystems like Microsoft and Amazon have already implemented SSO to streamline access to their services. Even enterprise platforms like IBM and SAP feature similar capabilities.

SSO essentially helps streamline user experiences while providing increased security.

Here are three of the most game-changing benefits of implementing SSO at your company.

1. Stack Management

The rapid pace at which users are adopting SaaS applications has compelled companies to make sense of the cloud's impact on their operations and infrastructure. In reality, many of the cloud applications in use within enterprises are not officially deployed by IT.

This creates certain risks for companies, as using unsanctioned software potentially exposes the business to issues such as ballooning subscription costs and even non-compliance to data protection regulations. IT teams have to stay on top of these concerns so they have to be able to profile and monitor all SaaS accounts, subscriptions, and credentials. Considering the potential number of SaaS applications in use within organizations, monitoring could become a monumental task.

Fortunately, SSO can be of great use in this regard. SaaS management platform Torii, for example, is able to automatically detect the SaaS tools used throughout the network. Among the ways, the platform accomplishes this is by scanning SSO activities and identifying all interactions with third-party SaaS. The platform supports integrations with SSO solutions like Okta and OneLogin.

So, by using SSO and SaaS management platforms, companies can easily perform comprehensive audits of their SaaS use. Having the ability to create reports on your team’s tech stack and expenditures enables management to formulate more efficient IT strategies and optimize the use of software licenses.

2. Productivity

Perhaps the most obvious benefit that could be immediately felt by users is in the time they save signing on to applications. Instead of needing to set up distinct accounts and access credentials to each of these services, users only need to manage one.

It might seem trivial on the surface, but the act of logging in to an application could also break a worker’s focus and momentum. Pausing to remember and type passwords can cut off a person's thought process. So, while the handful of seconds that are shaved off the login process by skipping username and password entry come off as negligible, when multiplied by the number of times one has to access multiple applications throughout the day, the gains end up being significant. This also allows work to flow more smoothly.

In addition, SSO can also help minimize downtime caused by other password-related issues. Up to half of the help desk, calls are for password reset requests. Since workers only need to worry about just one set of credentials, IT teams can avoid having to deal with so many password reset requests.

3. Security

SSO can also help improve the cybersecurity within the organization by curbing password fatigue. Workers who are forced to use multiple unique and complex passwords often lapse into password reuse. They may even commit the grave misstep of using a previously compromised password.

This exposes companies to credential stuffing – a form of cyber attack where malicious actors use access credentials gathered from data breaches in order to gain access to other systems. Just recently, a data dump known as Collection #1, which contained 87 gigabytes worth of username and password combinations, surfaced online, indicating that malicious actors already have millions of credentials in their possession. Through SSO, users only need to remember one username and password combination, which can be updated across platforms with just a few clicks, effectively configured to be unique and hard to crack.

SSO solutions also typically feature advanced security mechanisms. SSO providers pay especially close attention to security and compliance, so companies get the added benefit of having an active partner that works on threat mitigation and detection.

Identity Consolidation for the Win

Adopting digital solutions such as cloud computing and SaaS supposedly gives companies a major advantage. Unfortunately, these technologies have also been known to create fragmented user experiences. Even seemingly minor inconveniences such as dealing with password and login related issues could be detrimental to company efforts in the long run.

Providing users with the convenience of a more streamlined experience by implementing measures such as SSO could make quite the difference. It could even be a game changer even if it is just within the organization.

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Tags: Business, Cloud, Security

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