Quick show of hands: have you ever experienced problems with the passwords you need at work? Most of us have. Whether it’s forgetting some of them, feeling annoyed at the number of passwords we have to use, wasting valuable time devising ways to keep them all straight. Passwords have become the bane of our work lives.

As much as we would all like to stop using passwords, we can’t. Yes, they are a problem, but eliminating them completely would just open the door to costly data breaches. There is, however, one proven way to maximize the security benefits that come from using passwords while minimizing the cost, lost productivity, and frustration that come from dealing with password resets. That solution is called single sign-on (SSO).

What is SSO?

Single sign-on is a system allowing you to enter just one set of credentials (usually a username and password) on a cloud-based portal. Once the credentials have been verified, users can access every one of the applications they need for work without having to input separate credentials for each application. The SSO software checks whether the user is authorized to access the applications or not based on assigned roles and responsibilities. You can even customize it in minutes to automatically provision and de-provision employees.

What benefits does SSO offer?

  1. Better user experience. Employees log in once with a single set of credentials and get one-click access to all the applications and resources they need to do their jobs. There’s no need to waste time locating or recording passwords.
  2. Increased productivity. Using one set of credentials in the portal saves employees the extra time it takes to sign into each separate application that they might need. Check out this study where single sign-on saved a school district 2,500 HOURS of instructional time per month! Better yet, single sign-on software allows employees to work anywhere and anytime because all the files they need are streamlined across their devices.
  3. Minimized time and money lost due to password reset problems. Anyone who forgets their password can quickly and securely reset it from the centralized portal without calling the IT help desk. Self-service password reset allows employees to get back to work within minutes so that IT can use its time and resources to support the company's strategic goals. According to Gartner, up to 50% of all help desk calls are just requests for password resets. Each password reset can cost your company around $70! So SSO increases your productivity and adds money to your bottom line.
  4. Reduced risk of security breaches. With only one password to remember, employees will be less likely to write down their credentials, reuse passwords across accounts, and create weak passwords.
  5. Quick-start applications. Employees can customize the portal so that a clickable list of favorite applications appears at sign-on.

Make SSO even more secure

Single sign-on software provides enough security for many businesses. But, if your business requires more security because it collects sensitive data, then multi-factor authentication (MFA) may be the solution for you.

MFA involves extra layers of verification than just a password. Depending on the employee’s role or access to sensitive data, you might also require them to input the code from a company-issued token along with a biometric key (such as a fingerprint or eye scan). While passwords can be guessed, neither token codes nor biometrics can be faked. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to pass industry and government compliance requirements. In that case, MFA is a necessary security component because it facilitates advanced authentication, provisioning and de-provisioning, access certification, and reporting.

Regardless of whether yours is a small or medium-sized business, single sign-on software can help you reduce costs and increase productivity. Need more information? Check out our e-guide: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Cloud Provider for Your Business.

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