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Single Sign-On – the power of 1

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Every day the majority of us go about signing into various systems from multiple devices. Be it TFL to check your Oyster balance or your work CRM – you actually sign into more systems than you may think. As a hosted service provider that promotes cloud services, we use a vast array of tools and systems on a daily basis, but even we hadn’t realised just how many. Having recently introduced Single Sign-On (SSO) at Priority One, we’re not sure how we worked without it.

So what is SSO?

In short, it allows you to log into one secure portal and then click once to log into every other system you need for the day. There’s no need to enter usernames and passwords for each individual system or app, it’s this simple:

  1. Enter your username and secure password into SSO
  2. Enter a code generated by the authenticator app on your smartphone
  3. Log into any of the company systems with a single click

How secure is SSO?

I know what you’re thinking – surely this is a security risk? Once you’ve logged in via SSO, you have access to everything? Well, yes you do, but – the only time you will ever be logged in is when YOU are working with it, and the system will log you out after a set period of inactivity, if your laptop is logged out, or if it goes into hibernation etc.

We are forever hearing about breaches and hacks into some very major systems, which is why we are told to set super complex passwords, different for all the sites we use. However, in reality, this doesn’t always happen. This is where SSO comes into play, as it utilises what we call two-factor authentication. Now, bear with me. This is basically a secondary security measure that asks you for a code (generated every 60 seconds on your smartphone) after you’ve entered your password. This ensures that even if your password is compromised, the system stays secure.

Top five advantages of SSO

We have rolled this out across our entire organisation, at what is really very minimal expense, especially given the multitude of benefits to be gained, including:

  • Password compliance – only need to remember a single username and password
  • Time saving – access all corporate websites and apps from one screen
  • Accessibility – fully cloud-based solution with a user-friendly interface
  • Increased productivity – work from anywhere, at any time, and from any device
  • Added security – using two-factor authentication such as Google Authenticator

The screenshot shows the main page of the systems I use daily. All I have to do is click on any of these system icons and it logs me in automatically. No more multiple attempts of entering credentials and waiting for password reset emails, especially for systems that I rarely use.

Think this isn’t for you? Add up how many apps and systems you actually log into and then let me know when you want to trial SSO!

Priority One – IT Security

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Tom Merriott

With over 20 years experience working in the IT industry delivering unrivalled customer service, Tom is perfectly suited to advise on what's trending in IT and how best to deliver day-to-day efficiencies for our clients and readers.

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