SSO: How Companies Like OneLogin Are Making Business More Secure

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What is Single Sign-On (SSO)?

Single sign-on, or SSO, is both a session and user authentication service.  SSO enables a user to access an application using just one set of login credentials – that is, one username and password – and then can gain access to many different applications.  As the name implies, once a user successfully inputs their login credentials a single time, they obtain access rights to the entire suite of applications, rather than to just one application in the suite.

SSO eliminates the need for users to log in many times to access many different applications on a website or service.  SSO can make life easier for both users and administrators.  For users, SSO streamlines the login process because they only need to log in once.  For server administrators, SSO can be useful to monitor user accounts and keep track of users’ activities, e.g., switching between different applications.

SSO solutions use centralized authentication servers that are used for all applications and systems for authentication processes.  SSO combines authentication with techniques to make sure that users do not have to continually re-enter their password.  There are many common types of SSO configurations: Kerberos-based, smart-card-based, Integrated Windows Authentication, and Security Assertion Markup Language are four examples of different SSO setups.

Several major tech companies have implemented SSO in their software.  For example, Google uses a central service which enables a user to log in to their Google account, and then gives them access to the full suite of Google tools, which includes Google Search, Google Voice, Google Maps, and Gmail.

How does SSO work, exactly?

Here’s how SSO works on a popular website such as Google.  When a user is prompted to log in on any of Google’s applications, the user enters their username and password.  This enables the user to access that specific Google service, such as Google Search, while logging them in to all other Google services.

The single sign-on login is accomplished by a cookie generated by Google Accounts which persists with the user as they navigate throughout the Google website, accessing the site’s different services.  When a user navigates to Google Maps, for example, they are redirected to the Google Account sign-in, which notices the cookie left by the previous login, and the user remains logged in and is forwarded to the Google Maps website.

 

Why is SSO useful?

SSO has many benefits for both users and administrators.  Since passwords are not stored externally, the risk of third parties accessing or hacking them is low.  In addition, since a user only creates one account with a single password, this reduces the user’s password fatigue, which stems from the challenge of keeping track of several different passwords for a related group of websites.

The user also finds SSO more convenient as they can save time with a single login as opposed to spending time entering many different passwords.  Finally, SSO reduces information technology (IT) costs because fewer users will call the help desk due to encountering various problems with their passwords.

 

Do I have to be a large tech company to be able to develop and use secure sign on capabilities?

No.  Companies such as Google oversee their own centralized SSO operations.  Other companies who seek SSO services for identity management can enlist the help of various tech companies who specialize in SSO and related tools.  OneLogin, an identity and access management company which specializes in cloud-based identity management, is one company that offers open source application tools such as SSO.

 

What is OneLogin?

OneLogin was founded in the heart of Silicon Valley in 2009, and launched in 2010, by Thomas and Christian Pedersen.  The company focuses on cloud-based identity and access management such as single sign-on to help users access applications more quickly and be more productive.

Based in Silicon Valley, the goal of OneLogin is to provide secure access to applications and devices for users, reduce the amount of time necessary for IT to help users log in and log out of applications.  OneLogin offers Open Source toolkits that are used by millions of people around the world.  OneLogin clients who use the company’s Web Access Management software include NASA, the Department of Defense, OpenText, and restaurants.

OneLogin’s Single Sign On Screen

OneLogin offers a Single Sign-on available for various sectors including government, finance, insurance, healthcare, tech, industry, manufacturing, media, nonprofit, retail, and professional services customers around the world.

OneLogin’s “IAM Success Kit” offers tools to provide the latest and best identity and access management, including SSO.  The company also offers a free trial on their website: www.onelogin.com.
About OneLogin Single Sign-on

OneLogin SSO enables users to enter one username and password to access web applications in the cloud and behind a firewall.  OneLogin’s SSO functionality is available for desktop computers, laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets.  Administrators can change the password requirements to make them more stringent for added security; they can also set time limits on session timeout and the ability for users to reset their password.

Even if a user has many different accounts on several websites – three WordPress sites or five Gmail accounts, for example – OneLogin makes them available to you easily with one click.  This can save users a lot of time that they would normally spend logging in and out of their various accounts on different servers.  OneLogin also has this integrative SSO functionality for social media websites such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter, so that users do not continually have to log in and out of these different websites.

OneLogin vast single sign-on offerings make identity and account management easier for individuals and businesses seeking to utilize many applications on a computer, a computer server, or even in the cloud.

For more information on SSO and associated solutions visit Duo.com.

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