The Advantages and Benefits of Single Sign-On (SSO)

Why is SSO so important?

Single sign-on (SSO) is an increasingly useful tool for companies around the world. It allows all their employees, partners and customers to access the applications and services they need, all from one set of credentials. You may already know what SSO is, but do you know why it’s so important to thousands of businesses around the world?

With the global Identity and Access Management market projected to almost triple in size from its 2020 figure by 2028 - growing from $12.26 billion to a staggering predicted $34.52 billion - it’s clear that most organisations are taking tools like SSO seriously. Here are just a few of the benefits single sign-on brings to the table.

Benefits of Single Sign-On

Companies using single sign-on to grant end-users access to their applications notice a wide range of benefits for themselves, their employees and their customers. Some of the biggest problems SSO solves are that it:

  • Makes your systems more secure, and decreases attack surface
  • Saves your IT team time and money from automation, integration, and password resets
  • Improves end-user experience, for both employees and customers
  • Increases productivity, even when working remotely
  • Simplifies integration with B2B partners

Let’s take a look at those in more detail.

Security advantages of SSO

Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report 2021 found that 85% of breaches involved a human element, and 61% involved credentials. When you add to that the fact that in 2021 cyber attacks on corporate networks increased 50% year over year, peaking at 925 attacks a week per organisation, the case for securing people’s usernames and passwords with SSO is clear.

When end users only need to remember a single unique password, instead of different passwords for each app, the risk of password fatigue drops significantly, and with it the rate of time-consuming password resets. What’s more, since they only need to log on to one secure platform, once per day, you eliminate the chance of users repeating passwords across multiple insecure applications. 

Your IT and security teams also benefit from the simple user management SSO offers. Users can be assigned access levels based on their role, department, and seniority. Sensitive information remains in the right hands, and nobody can access apps unnecessarily due to broad-strokes provisioning.

Is single sign-on more secure? By all accounts, then, yes it is. With only one password to remember, used only on tightly secured software, cyber-attackers will be hard-pressed to find a credentials-based vulnerability. And in the rare event of a breach, threats can be monitored and eliminated quickly without further worry. 

Save your IT team time and money

Users are constantly requesting access to more apps, password resets are coming in thick and fast, and the number of applications your organisation wants to integrate with is on the rise. In situations like these, single sign-on can be a blessing to IT teams.

Your IT folk will be able to focus on the matters that matter: SSO systems can bring about a 75% reduction in login-related help desk calls, save 30 minutes per application provisioning request, and speed up IT integration with acquired businesses by 500%. They can save even more time with integrations with an SSO platform like Okta, which already has 7,000+ pre-built integrations for organisations to start working on immediately.

SSO creates delightful user experiences

When end-users, both employees and customers, use SSO platforms to access their apps, they only need to login on a device once, for all-day, across-the-board access. The security benefits aren’t the only advantages: with frictionless access to everything users can expect a stress-free, enjoyable experience.

Large companies, surveyed in 2021, reported using on average 175 apps throughout their businesses. Since the rise of the remote and hybrid work environments, more and more software is being developed and used to handle the workplace and workforce demands.

Some apps being used are familiar to most from before the pandemic. But the last couple of years have seen a surge in apps being used in the workplace for:

  • Content collaboration
  • Security
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Video conferencing
  • Project management
  • Team communication
  • Networking & Infrastructure
  • Reporting
  • E-Learning

Each additional app puts more and more demand on people to remember password after password, and go through different authentication processes for each.

With single sign-on, logins are automatic - one click and you’re in. SSO dashboards can be customised to prioritise a user’s most accessed apps, or to sort them by folder. Some SSO platforms even offer browser plugins that can save new passwords directly or suggest stronger passwords that won't be easily exploited. Whether on mobile or desktop, end-users will love having access to any app, at any time.

Single Sign-On and Productivity

According to KPMG, 37% of CEOs plan on having most of their employees work remotely two or more days a week, and 51% plan to invest in shared office spaces. With all this moving about, it would be hard to expect productivity not to drop off, as employees struggle to access business-critical apps outside the office, and IT teams prioritise security over convenience.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With single sign-on employees can achieve office-level productivity from anywhere. Staff can access all their apps remotely, without day-to-day time-to-productivity being sacrificed for security.  

Whether working on-premises or from a hotel on the other side of the world, an SSO system ensures there’s no faff for the workforce in the way of getting to business.

Seamlessly connect with B2B partners

When working with partners and vendors, the question of how to manage external users is crucial: how can you provide access to the data and applications those users need to facilitate collaboration, without compromising confidential information?

An SSO platform can reduce the cost of managing third-party user access and speed up federation with new business units or partners. Instead of wasting time by onboarding partners on your directory to give them the limited access you need, organisations can use single sign-on to connect with a partner’s own identity system. From there, they can provide and manage identities for external users, in the same way and in the same place as they would for internal staff!

In this way the security risk is minimised too: partners and vendors are no longer easy targets for attackers, since they can only access the resources you permit them to, and you can monitor and manage that access in real-time, throughout the user lifecycle.

So, why does your business need SSO?

Is having SSO advantageous for an organisation? To recap: it bolsters your security and drives down wasted cost and time for your IT team. End-users delight in the frictionless login experience, and seamless access to all applications ensures productivity in the workforce from any location. It lets you onboard B2B partners quickly, and with minimal risk.

The case for single sign-on is pretty clear.

Why not try it out for your organisation? Get access to the free trial of Okta here in just 10 minutes to find out for yourselves why SSO is an essential in every business’ IAM toolbox.