Why Your Business Should Implement Single Sign-On
By Oscar Joaquin Lozano
September 1, 2021
Single Sign-On solutions (SSOs) offer an opportunity to ease the navigation of the internet for users. They can resolve various complications often encountered by corporations, such as frequent password resets and CAPTCHA’s nuisance. As businesses and consumers become increasingly dependent on technology, most users have encountered these difficulties in some capacity. SSOs alleviate some of these issues by enabling users to access websites that would otherwise require an account, fostering the use of multiple applications in an easy, efficient manner. While SSOs are great tools that will be useful in ushering us into a more web-dependent future, it is always important to understand the risks associated with them in order to better protect oneself while reaping the benefits that they have to offer.
Benefits for Users
Single Sign-On solutions streamline the modern digital experience by authorizing users across countless applications, resulting in multitudinous benefits. Most obviously, they create convenience by enabling users to speedily transition between applications, eliminating the need to create and manage a unique account for each. They also allow users to bypass CAPTCHA, the irritating “I am not a robot” method of verification. SSOs grant users the option of signing in to multiple applications using only one set of credentials. The most well-known examples are Google and Facebook SSO logins. You have likely seen the pop-up menu that provides options to either create an account, sign in to an existing account, or sign in using an SSO (such as a Google or Facebook account). By opting into the SSO options, users reap the benefits of having an account for the website without all the hassle of having to manage one. Not only does this make traversing online easier, but it also improves security and reduces the likelihood of users’ accounts being compromised.
SSOs can help eliminate password fatigue, which occurs when people have too many individual accounts to manage that it becomes difficult to remember login information. This often results in people reusing login information to ease this burden, which creates a significant security risk. When the same credentials are exposed to a variety of applications, the potential for malicious users to obtain them increases. By consolidating all of one’s accounts into a single framework, such as an SSO, it is much easier to prevent password fatigue and increase security, as the only entity receiving access to your account credentials is the SSO being employed (Google, Facebook, etc.). Further, only having to manage one account facilitates the creation of a single, strong password, rather than one that is overused and easily guessed.
Benefits for Corporations
While users’ overall experience is enhanced, businesses and corporations have the most to gain from the implementation of Single Sign-On solutions. By utilizing SSOs in the development of their websites, businesses can increase their traffic with heightened security and ease of use. This enhanced user experience increases their website traffic as users are more likely to engage with, and return to, a website that is easily accessible. By eliminating the need for users to create an individual account per website, businesses can prevent password fatigue, which is oftentimes a deterrent for users.
Not only does the implementation of SSOs benefit businesses in terms of increasing website traffic, but it can also act as an aid in monitoring employees and ensuring that they are working efficiently. Simplifying the login process for users decreases the frequency of assistance requests, particularly for issues requiring password resets. This will afford IT employees more time to dedicate to other business matters, as opposed to spending their time assisting users in navigating the website and resetting passwords.
SSOs also enable businesses to prevent shadow IT: essentially, when employees use systems and/or applications that have not been approved by the IT department. Though shadow IT can be beneficial to employees’ work, it produces a security risk. Data and information shared via shadow IT runs an increased likelihood of being compromised since the IT department isn’t aware of its use and is unable to monitor and ensure its security. Approximately 30-40% of IT spending within large enterprises is devoted to shadow IT, according to Gartner. SSOs enable businesses to monitor what applications employees use, ensuring that all employees comply with the IT department. However, shadow IT isn’t entirely negative, as Google Docs and Dropbox are common examples. They can provide useful tools for employees, but it is important that they are in compliance with their business’s IT department. By implementing SSOs, businesses can better monitor shadow IT to ensure the protection of their information, data, and employees. This would also enable them to save money that would typically be allocated for shadow IT, and put it to better use.
Best SSO to Use
For businesses looking to implement Single Sign-On solutions into their websites, there is an abundance of providers available, and looking for the right one can be overwhelming. Google and Facebook are two of the most commonly used providers. However, while SSOs may provide the safest alternative, there are still certain risks associated with using SSOs, and not all SSO providers are created equal. One risk of using SSOs is the fact that users only manage one set of credentials for numerous applications. This means that if the account is compromised then the attacker will have access to every application authorized by the SSO. Another risk is created by the way most SSO services function. In many cases, SSO providers are required to provide websites with specific information about users (such as phone numbers or locations) to establish a trusted network via an authentication token.
humandID is an SSO that eliminates the aforementioned risks associated with SSOs. humanID outperforms its competitors in security measures while providing all of the same benefits for users. This increased security is a product of the design of humanID’s programming. In the most basic form, humanID works by having users input their phone numbers, which are then hashed, or rearranged, utilizing an algorithm that specifies a set of values for each input. This makes it nearly impossible to determine the original input number. This eliminates the need for an account password, which has, historically, been a point of vulnerability for an account. The hash is then combined with additional characters called “salts” and that becomes the username for the account. The “salted” hashes further secure the account by creating an irreversible account username. This prevents your phone number or any other personal information from being shared, thus protecting users even further than conventional SSO methods. Unique hashes are also produced per each application accessed using humanID, so users are also safeguarded from having their data collected from multiple applications and assembled into a single online profile.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, humanID also furthers security measures by instantly deleting user data upon authentication, including the phone number used. HumanID doesn’t operate on the “authentication token” system which enables it to bypass the exchange of user data that is fundamental to the majority of SSOs. This eradicates the risk of user data being compromised, solving one of the greatest security risks of SSOs. Addressing the risk of a user’s login being compromised, humanID requires a verification code that is sent directly to the user’s phone number in order to successfully login. This means that even if a hacker were able to try using another user’s phone number, they would still need access to the actual phone in order to retrieve the verification code. Lastly, humanID is the leading SSO provider in terms of effort to preserve online integrity. HumanID’s programming prevents bot and spam accounts from receiving authorization as a means of combating fake news, misinformation, and spam.
Single Sign-On solutions are a developing method of utilizing the internet that increases speed, convenience, ease of use, and security, which are all the more important as society and technology become increasingly amalgamated. It would appear that SSOs are the verification method of the future, and it is of great benefit to businesses to implement them. While SSOs are currently one of the best methods of login authentication, it is always important to educate oneself on how these systems operate and how to proceed in the safest manner. Research your options and choose the provider that will produce the greatest good for users, yourself, and the internet as a whole.