Single Sign-On vs Reduced Sign-On - IAM Explained


Whenever I am involved in the initial discovery phase of an Identity and Access Management (IAM) project, the term Single Sign-On (SSO) always comes up. SSO is often desired or a hard requirement of customers, which inevitably prompts a clarification discussion around just exactly what SSO means to them.


The customer’s definition of SSO is usually something along the lines of “customers have one set of login credentials for all of their web applications instead of a different set for each.” For example, a single “scarter” account and password can get me access to Salesforce and Google Apps versus having a separate “scarter1” account for Salesforce and then an “scarter2” account for Google Apps.  

However, this interpretation of what SSO means is actually only half correct.

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Don't Stop at Single Sign On

There is no doubt that single sign-on (SSO) capabilities are an important part of any identity and access management (IAM) solution. SSO reduces user frustrations by eliminating the need to keep a list of separate login credentials for individual applications and lowers support costs by helping to reduce the amount of time IT spends addressing login issues and resetting forgotten passwords. Single sign-on can also be utilized for documenting user account activity.

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What is Single Sign-On?


If you work in the IT department or have contact with colleagues who do, you have most likely heard the term “single sign-on” (SSO). While it seems like a straight-forward description of a login technique, I’ve heard people describe it in a number of different ways.

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What does SSO mean to you?

When we meet with a customer, we first like to build a common ground with regards to nomenclature. In the identity management field this is especially true because terms are used differently by different people/organizations. We find this to be especially true with discussions around the topic of SSO (Single Sign-On).

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