SSO Definition

Wherever you connect, you must open an account, a login and a password. Eventually, you may get tired of these chores. Single Sign-On (SSO) or single authentication saves you from this restrictive routine. This article explains the ins and outs of this technology. Beyond a definition, these next paragraphs tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of this system.

The need for Single Sign-On (SSO) or single authentication

Skype, Facebook, Gmail, Messenger and all the others ask you to remember logins and passwords. You feel that you are wasting a lot of your time with these procedures. Fortunately, it is now possible to log in on multiple platforms in one go. Single Sign-On (SSO) solves a real dilemma of the digital age. It helps both individuals and businesses. 92% of professionals encounter difficulty with these routines according to a study by Vanson Bourne.

Single Sign-On, also called SSO, allows you to log in to several applications with a single identifier. For example, you need to give a Google account to have access to Gmail, Play Store, YouTube, your Drive sheets and many other platforms dependent on the Mountain View firm. Another illustration: you will just have to connect to Facebook and the different apps belonging to the Meta group will open. There is Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram and many others.

GAFAM companies are not the only ones to exploit the SSO vein. Much less well-known providers such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft also master the technology. The OAuth and SAML protocols are part of this. On the Cloud, cloud SSO rhymes with AuthAnvil, Okta, OneLogin and LastPass.


How this login technology works

At a time when mobile applications were not very common, Single Sign-On allows access to different websites. The user just needs to register with an SSO program to be authenticated on several addresses. The service provider thus manages an entire directory with several accesses. It was child’s play if everyone is in the same area.

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However, the situation has changed with Cloud and SaaS applications. These formats required much more sophisticated Single Sign-On solutions. Concretely, the SSO service provider finds an arrangement with digital service software developers. The latter in some way subcontract the authentication phase. That said, the identity provider offers an offer that is well governed by specifications.

In other words, the site locked by a login sends a request to the identity provider’s server. This service provider is responsible for checking whether a user is online. A protocol is then exchanged between the parties. A single password is enough to connect to several applications. The consumer will no longer have to re-enter their identifier each time they turn on their PC or Smartphone.

Some advantages, but also notable disadvantages

The advantages of SSO:

  • The time saving is appreciable with a unique identification system.
  • A single username and password is enough for those who forget quickly
  • Single Sign-On offers a certain level of security; you must reconnect if you change your device.
  • Some users who tend to use the same password are better protected.

Points to improve :

  • If a hacker manages to force single authentication, he has access to the victim’s entire digital life.
  • SSO security still requires a complex password that many will eventually forget.
  • The consumer does not access his emails or his profiles on social networks and even less on the Cloud if he no longer remembers his identification with an SSO provider.
  • The system is very complex from the slightest change of machine.