SSO is a secure login and authentication service that authenticates users without them having to remember passwords. This secure method for controlling access, is leveraged by zero trust for continuous authorization and asset protection. Let’s see how.
What is SSO?
SSO (Single-Sign on) is a user authentication service that enables transparently logging in with the same, single identity to multiple systems. Instead of users having to manually enter credentials every time they want to access assets, users are transparently authenticated and validated by a central server when they attempt to login. Authentication is based on tokens that are correlated with user information, credentials, or certificates. SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) is a popular type of SSO that uses XML for authentication.
1. Enhanced Security
By reducing password usage organizations can control who has access to their systems and reduce the threat of breaches. Passwords pose risks to organizations: users reuse them, write them down and choose user-friendly passwords. These make passwords easy to crack. SSO overcomes this danger, by eliminating the need for users to remember passwords, and adding more authentication factors.
2. Better User Experience
One of the reasons users reuse passwords is because remembering and reentering unique passwords is annoying and time-consuming. SSO creates a seamless user experience by enabling users to access apps immediately, with all the password authentication heavy-lifting taking place in the backend.
3. Organizational Governance for Controlled Access
With SSO, organizations centralize authentication policies, enabling them to control who can gain access to valuable assets and whose permissions should be revoked. This increases their governance over users and the permissions, and increases their security posture. In addition, with SSO organizations can get a clear audit log and gain accountability of who connected to where.
4. Employee Productivity
SSO saves users time by eliminating the friction of connecting, updating passwords and logging in every time they switch between apps. Employees can focus on work instead of on IT.
Passwordless SSO and Zero Trust
Zero trust is a security model that continuously identifies and authenticates every device, user and identity before providing them with access to network apps and assets. This ensures that attackers don’t have access to valuable information, even if they are inside the network. In addition, the network is cloaked for users, preventing network visibility. Zero trust also prohibits users from accessing the network.
The zero trust model leverages SSO as a method for authenticating users before they are provided access to valuable assets and apps. Every time a user wants to access an app, a token is transparently used to validate their identity. Passwords cannot be used to login.
This means that with zero trust, users can only connect based on their identity. As identities cannot be switched, this ensures secure access.
Some zero trust providers, like Cyolo, leverage SSO even more by introducing a credentials vault, to ensure they are always kept safe and cannot be cracked. Cyolo enables organizations to use their own SSO systems or to implement Cyolo’s out-of-the-box solution.