The number and variety of apps available in today's digital environment are continually increasing. With so many programs used by organizations, taking care of every combination of login details used by employees, executives, and clients may rapidly become onerous. Single sign on service (SSO) is a common technique for providing reliable access to multiple applications from any location and on any device.

What Exactly is a Single Sign On Service?

SSO, or more specifically, single sign on (SSO), is an authentication solution that allows users to safely authenticate with numerous apps and websites employing a single set of credentials. A single sign on service happens when a user authenticates into one application and is subsequently instantly signed in to other apps, independent of the platform, software, or domain the person is using. The user just signs in once, and therefore it is called a single sign on service.

What is Single Sign On Service

For instance, if someone logs in to Gmail, they are instantly authorized to access YouTube, AdSense, Google Analytics, and other Google apps. Similarly, logging out of Gmail or other Google applications immediately logs out the user of all Google services, resulting in a single logout.

How Does it Operate?

The single sign on service informs the software of the user's authentication status by sending a "token" including various consumer information. The user's identification status, username, email address, and other data are often transmitted.

The single sign on service authentication operates as follows in 3 stages:

User Access: When the user proceeds to or opens the website or app, the software then sends a security/authentication token to the top sso providers. The application sends the username or email address as a token to the SSO service provider with a request to identify the user. If the application previously recognized the user's username or email address, it will send the token and authentication request as soon as the user accesses the app.

SSO authentication: The SSO service determines whether or not the user has already been authenticated. If this is the case, the SSO service proceeds to the next phase. If the user is not authenticated, the SSO service notifies the user to authenticate, typically through a pop-up or a screen that seeks username and password information. Authentication can take place by inputting a username/password combination or by using another authentication mechanism such as one-time passwords or two-factor (2FA). After validating that the user is authenticated, the SSO service transmits the security certificate token to the app, allowing the app to grant the appropriate degree of access. The token is passed to the app or web service by the SSO service via the user's web browser.

Access Guaranteed: The app acknowledges the confirmed authentication status and provides access permissions to its systems because of the established relationship that exists between both the SSO service and the app. Thus, it ensures that identity access management is never compromised.

Different Types of Single Sign On Services

The single sign on service enables users to access various apps using a single set of login credentials, like a username and password or even multi-factor authentication. This describes the architecture for Federated Identity Management, often known as identity federation. Many applications such as identity management software depend on open standard protocols to establish how service providers (SPs) and identity providers (IdPs) may share identification and authenticate data with one another for SSOs to operate.

Let's have a look at the different single sign on services:

  • SAML is an extensible markup language (XML) standard that allows user authentication and authorization data in user authentication software to be exchanged across encrypted domains. SAML-based single sign on services includes communication between the user, an identity provider that manages a user database, and a service provider.

  • A ticket-granting ticket (TGT) is generated in a Kerberos-based single sign on security after the authentication credentials are submitted. The TGT retrieves service tickets for other apps that the user wants to access without requiring the user to resubmit credentials.

  • Smart card-based single sign on service needs an end user to utilize a card containing the sign-in credentials. Again, when the card is used, the user doesn't have to reenter any usernames or passwords. SSO smart cards can hold either certificates or passwords.

Types of Single Sign On Service

What Are the Advantages of Single Sign On Service?

The advantages of single sign on services or sso services are straightforward, such as simpler authentication and fewer passwords to memorize. However, these advantages might boost productivity throughout the enterprise. Let's look at how single sign on services benefit organizations and their employees.

It Boosts Both Employees' and IT Efficiency

Single sign on services' single point of access saves time and resources. Users who use a single password to access all of their apps will require less assistance, thereby reducing support calls. It further reduces security concerns by allowing employees to use their SSO login credentials on whatever device and in any web browser without jeopardizing security.

It Strengthens Security Capabilities

One myth about utilizing single sign on services is that it reduces security. The argument depends on the assumption that once a master password is compromised, all connected accounts will be affected. Since they only need to memorize one password for many apps, users tend to generate stronger passwords. These best practices help to limit the likelihood of password theft.

Single sign on services encourage users to use more secure passwords for their accounts. It also prevents them from using the same password on many accounts. The use of a single login password for many sites makes it easier for consumers to remember their passwords. This also minimizes the danger of cyber attacks on enterprises because websites must keep fewer user credentials.

Passwords, on the other hand, should at the very least be supported by two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication as in NinjaAuth, which gives additional assurance that the user is who they claim to be. When a person logs in with their username and password, 2FA requires them to submit an extra verification factor, such as their fingerprint or a code from a phone authenticator app. Additional authentication elements are required before providing user access to an application.

Single Sign On Service Advantages

Shadow IT Risks are Less Prevalent

When people breach their organization's security policies to utilize applications, devices, services, or software that have not been approved for official usage, this is referred to as "shadow IT": illegal downloads in the workplace. Single sign on service assists firms in avoiding this by monitoring which applications employees use, reducing the likelihood of identity theft or data loss, and enforcing compliance standards.

Previously, shadow IT was restricted to employees acquiring software from office supply companies. However, as cloud-based downloads become more common, the risk escalates.

To address this issue, IT administrators can utilize a single sign on system to track which apps employees use. Identity theft threats can thus be mitigated. A company's IT or compliance staff can also ensure that domestic and global compliance requirements are implemented on a single platform.

Increased Productivity

A single sign-on service requires users to type only one password to log in to numerous applications or services. This prevents password fatigue, which occurs when consumers barely remember different passwords for numerous accounts, which can lead to them recycling credentials across multiple sites. This poses a significant security issue since hackers can utilize regularly used passwords to gain access to additional accounts.

Users waste considerable time signing in to applications when they can just use a single unique password. As a result, they are less likely to use weak passwords or forget their login credentials, which increases productivity.

Summing it Up

Single sign-on services provide enterprises with greater centralized control by allowing them to provide each team member and user with a single set of credentials that logs them into various applications. Similarly, the single sign-on service method is straightforward from the user's perspective. When a user visits an app or website that is integrated with the SSO service, the SSO service either verifies that the user is already authenticated or walks the user through the authentication process.

Explore utilizing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for specific applications or websites that require more security precautions. Explore how NinjaAuth by 500apps, a leading cloud-based single login service technology, can help safeguard your most confidential materials, maintain key business functionality, and expand your business!

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