digital security concept

What Is Single Sign-On & Why Is It Important for Your Business?

Today’s digital world requires us to log in and out of applications all day long. We are supposed to use different passwords for every account and make our passwords so complex that they’re hard for others to guess — but that makes them just as hard for us to remember. And we are supposed to change them frequently. 

Wrestling with this password chaos is not only a time-consuming and expensive ordeal for both users and IT staff, it’s also incredibly dangerous. Traditional log-in methods create security vulnerabilities with weak or shared passwords and PINs, so while IT staff are burdened by tedious password resets and hacks, organizations are severely threatened by breaches looming in the shadows.

81% of people reuse passwords across multiple accounts* of security breaches are due to stolen or weak passwords* 61% *

Enter Single Sign-on (SSO) — today’s technology superhero that can help organizations shift into a safer state of "going passwordless" if they choose to leverage the power of biometrics or RFID authentication technologies. Moving away from passwords tames the log-in beast and modernizes how businesses access digital spaces and places. 

What Is Single Sign-On?

Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication process that allows users to securely access multiple applications, systems and data using a single set of credentials. Users sign on once using biometric technology (fingerprint or a facial recognition scan) or RFID authentication (with multiple form factors, including a card, fob, wearable or credential in a digital wallet). Then throughout the day their credentials conveniently move with them — providing seamless access across digital systems. 

What Are the Benefits of SSO?

The many benefits of SSO include: 

  • Enhanced Security — Passwords are susceptible to phishing, hacking and simple human error. SSO limits the number of attacks because users only log in once each day and only use one set of credentials. Reducing the number of log-ins across the company improves enterprise security. Adopting biometrics or RFID technology for SSO authentication further heightens security measures as it is passwordless. Individuals merely present an RFID access card, mobile phone, face or finger to attain authentication.
  • Reduced IT Support & Costs — Gartner estimates that 40% of all help desk calls are due to password issues, while a study by Forrester reveals password resets cost organizations upward of $70 per fix. Replacing passwords with biometrics or RFID SSO eliminates the costs and risks associated with password management. 
  • Improved Productivity & Efficiency — SSO increases employee productivity by reducing the time they must spend signing on and dealing with passwords for various systems and applications. SSO also translates to fewer IT support calls — enabling IT resources to instead focus on more strategic initiatives to improve operational efficiencies.
  • Compliance & Auditability — SSO supports organizations in meeting security regulatory requirements such as GDPR, HIPAA and PCI-DSS, by providing effective access controls, access auditing and automatic sign-off. These controls strengthen a company’s security posture, help protect sensitive data and support regulatory compliance.
  • Integration With Existing Infrastructure — SSO functionality can be integrated via many software-vendor partnerships, thereby helping preserve investments in current IT systems
  • A Simplified, More Satisfying User Experience — With SSO, access is granted in seconds, saving time and elevating job satisfaction while eliminating frustration around passwords, resets and system lockouts. A quick face scan, finger press or digital device tap is all that’s required for frictionless identity authentication and verification across various business systems.

Tales From the Real World

RFID and biometric technologies are increasingly being embraced by companies around the world and across industries to help businesses graduate from the outdated practice of passwords and to shore up security. SSO can be easily adopted across industries including:

  • Banking & Finance — SSO can be effortlessly incorporated into a bank’s authentication strategy to help balance security and convenience for employees and customers alike 
  • Healthcare — Secure and rapid access to patient records is vital in fast-paced settings — and sometimes lifesaving. SSO allows healthcare professionals to swiftly retrieve electronic health records and other applications while safeguarding patient data and streamlining workflows. 
  • Retail — SSO strengthens access control and identity verification for retailers — improving POS security with single-drawer accountability and audit trails, preventing time fraud like buddy punching and delivering cost savings by eliminating password use

SSO for identity authentication paves the way for productivity. It improves the user experience and relieves IT staff of a tremendous burden: fewer, more accurate log-ins mean fewer requests for help. But most importantly, it drastically reduces the risk of unauthorized access, identity theft and fraudulent activities, taming the log-in beast while keeping bad actors out of your business.

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