What to Look for When Choosing a Single Sign-On Solution

A single sign-on solution allows users to input just one name and password for access to multiple applications. Instead of memorizing scores of separate credentials to log into each app uniquely, a user simply logs into the single sign-on solution and then accesses his or her various applications from there. Sounds easy, right? But what sets apart the best single sign-on solutions from the rest of the pack? These are some key factors to look for when choosing a single sign-on solution.

Customizable user experience

Great single sign-on solutions don't trap organizations in a box where everything looks alike. Instead, they let administrators customize the user experience. For example, the login page should be skinnable for a variety of looks and feels that are consistent with your corporate branding.

It’s not just the appearance that should be flexible, but the security as well. You should be able to make access conditional on a variety of factors, from group to IP address, and to require additional authentication factors at your discretion. There should be an API that permits a fully custom user experience with dynamic app links on an individual user basis. In short, expect tailor-made user experiences with a top-notch single sign-on solution.

All the apps you need

Part of the problem with many legacy on-premises identity solutions is that they have to provision identity in a patchwork manner—one method here and another there—resulting in inconsistent or incomplete access. A single sign-on solution shouldn't replicate the same trouble with a framework that allows access to only some of the needed applications, leaving organizations to struggle to connect with certain apps that are outside the frame. After all, it's not called a mostly single sign-on solution. Look for an SSO option that includes thousands of apps and the option for custom integrations.

Easy-to-use mobile interface

A simple, clear mobile interface is crucial for a single sign-on solution in a world where some 87% of employers are asking employees to use their own smartphones to access business apps. The experience on mobile should be the same as the experience on web, and the use of a cell phone should present no additional security hazards.

Secure directory and authentication

It goes without saying that an SSO solution should be secure. Your encrypted user data should be absolutely inaccessible to outside forces. But for SSO to work effectively, you need to be able to get information out as well as in. Look for solutions that allow integration to AD/LDAP, so accessing your user data for authentication is lightning fast.

Ability to grow with your organization

A single sign-on solution provider who stays ahead of complex changes in technology is one who won't fall behind when your organization pivots or grows. Your SSO provider should scale easily so your IT department can take on new influxes of employees or deal with other growth challenges. With IT spending increasing, organizations need to make sure their providers can keep pace.


It takes experience to make certain that single sign-on solutions supply everything organizations need—including access to lesser-known custom applications. Look for SSO options with an uptime approaching 100%, to ensure that your team can always access their apps when they need them. Tools to monitor your usage, such as real-time security reporting, are another indication that an SSO provider is a good option.

Reputation for innovation

Your single sign-on solution provider should be creating answers for today's biggest challenges. Technology is a challenging field where mistakes can mean a company suffers a damaging hack. Trust those who have the knowledge needed to keep organizations secure.

With quarterly hackathons, a client base full of innovative firmsawards for innovation, and more, Okta fits the bill. Get started today. One app is free forever, for an unlimited number of users.

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