The Single-Sign-On (SSO) allows users to access their applications by logging in only once. They then have access to all their resources without having to enter their credentials for each application. Companies and organizations have many reasons to implement this type of solution; among them, we can mention the following six major advantages:
- Time saving: By logging in only once per session, users will save time, as well as the IT support which will be less likely to be contacted because of forgotten passwords.
- Improvement of the user-friendliness of the workstation: This time saving means a better user experience; switching from one application to another is seamless, so users are more efficient in their work.
- Costs saving: For IT support, the time saved from password resets means less hours spent on these tedious, resource-intensive and intellectually unsatisfactory tasks. This time saved can be used for value-added projects.
- Enhanced security: For users, having multiple passwords can lead them to use the same password for several applications, simplify them or even list them on paper documents or on their computer. With a single password, the IT department can require the use of strong passwords that are renewed frequently, in a transparent way, and at the same time eliminate the risk of forgetting them.
- Compliance: Thanks to SSO often coupled with a strong authentication, certain compliance objectives can be achieved more easily. Indeed, it is easier to check who is accessing which applications, who is actively using the accounts in which system and who has access to which system and when, since all this data is centralized in the SSO audit database.
- Adapted to mobility issues: More and more SSO solutions allow users to access resources from any type of device including tablets and smartphones. This allows users to enjoy the benefits of SSO while being mobile.
If SSO has become so popular in companies, it is also because it concerns everyone. First of all, users, for whom the SSO provides a real work comfort with an accelerated and simplified navigation through the various business applications they use. It is also important for the IT department, which spends less time solving problems related to forgotten passwords and can enhance IS access security by using stronger passwords. Some features such as secure password share between users, service account management for M2M exchanges or automatic password rotation after each access or after a predetermined period of time, are all elements allowing the ISD to strengthen the security. Finally, the SSO also has an impact on the Management, for whom increased security is a key issue: the theft of confidential information by a person who has logged into a session (after having, for example, found the password on a piece of paper) can have serious consequences, both financial and in terms of image. Moreover, a higher productivity and time saving for employees leads to increased gains/reduced costs.
More generally, the SSO is still a solution for the future if we integrate the notion of federated identities or continuous authentication , based on the user’s context. The combination with physical access control solutions is an easy way to improve and increase the level of security of Information Systems.
 Continuous authentication in Cyberia, Frédéric Pierre, October 2018