What is Single Sign-On, and How Does it Work?

What is Single Sign-On, and How Does it Work?

Customers who utilize single sign-on can access various services with the assurance that they will only need to enter their login credentials (username, password, etc.) once on a single page. And what exactly is single sign-on? Find out by reading on.

What is a Single Sign-On?

Single sign-on (SSO) ensures users securely log in to several applications and websites with only one set of credentials. It ensures that the user does not log in again after the initial login approval. It accomplishes this by integrating many application login windows into a single one and then authenticates using login information entered once on a single page.

Understanding How SSO Works?

The service provider and identity provider are responsible for the success of this service. These two applications exchange a certificate that contains credible information about the user.

This certificate can be used to sign identification data, and it comes in the form of tokens that are delivered from the identity provider to the service provider. These tokens include information like the user's email address and password. Both programs also need to build a solid rapport with one another.

It won't be necessary to reauthenticate the user if the system recognizes the token; instead, it will transmit a certificate of approval to the service provider. The user may have to log in if they haven't by supplying the necessary credentials to the Identity Provider. This could just be a username and password, or it could also have another authentication method, such as a One-Time Password (OTP).

A token indicating successful authentication will be sent back to the Service Provider by the Identity Provider after it has verified the supplied credentials. The Service Provider receives this token through the user's browser and verifies it according to the trust between them during the initial configuration. The service provider knows it is real because both applications have unshakeable reliance.

What You Should Know Before Implementing an SSO in Your Application?

  • Setting specific objectives and goals for your implementation of an SSO is essential before you begin. You should make sure to:

  • Understand the many user types you'll be supporting and their requirements.

  • Describe the security measures to ensure that only reputable users are logging in.

  • Know which systems to integrate with and whether API access is necessary.

  • Learn about the differences between on-premises and cloud-based solutions and which one you would need.

  • Ensure you understand how this solution will expand your business and achieve your objectives.

What are the Benefits of an SSO?

Firstly, an SSO can increase security because a single sign-on solution makes it easier for users and administrators to maintain usernames and passwords. Other advantages are:

  • Users can frequently access their applications considerably faster with SSO.

  • Additionally, it reduces the time the help desk must spend supporting users who have forgotten their passwords.

  • Administrators can centrally manage specifications like multi-factor authentication and password complexity (MFA).

  • When a user quits the company, administrators can remove all of their login access with ease.

SSO Software vs. SSO Solution vs. SSO Provider: What are their Differences?

Software for single sign-on (SSO) is a system installed locally to carry out a particular set of operations. Then, the SSO solution is the main product's functionality which you can enhance or customize. SSO providers describe the business that is responsible for creating or hosting the solution.

What are SSO Software as a Service and App-to-App SSO?

You can station Software as a Service (SaaS) and SSO solutions as platforms that operate in the cloud. App-to-App SSO covers the act of transferring a user's identity within their ecosystem from one application to another. It is currently exclusive to SAPCloud and is not a standard protocol.

Examples of Terms Associated with SSO:

  • Security Access Markup Language (SAML): SAML enables single sign-on (SSO) for web browsers, allowing users to authenticate once and obtain access to different, secured services without re-entering their credentials.

  • Federated Identity Management (FIM): FIM involves two or more domains or identity management systems to establish a trusting relationship.

  • OpenID Connect (OIDC): It is a single sign-on functionality providing an authentication layer constructed on top of OAuth 2.0.

  • OAuth (specifically OAuth 2.0 nowadays): OAuth focuses on creating a reliable connection so that user identification data shared between domains are authentic.

Why Should You Use SSO?

If your company uses the same user base for several or even all of its applications, SSO is an excellent solution. This is because it promotes a speedy system you can easily maintain. Also, you can use a single central system to manage authentication for all of your applications rather than having separate authentication systems on each of these applications.

Conclusion

A sign-on is referred to as a single sign-on if you can access all company-approved applications and websites after logging in once. It would be crucial to pick an SSO solution that allows you to demand a second authentication factor before a user login into a certain application.

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