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Single Sign-On: More Secure Than It Sounds

Introduction

With so much advanced cybercriminal technology and the ever-expanding Dark Web, more and more businesses and professionals are turning their focus toward greater online security. These changes are happening all over the world. For example, has your company recently started asking (or requiring) you to participate in phishing exercises or security awareness trainings?

As a result of more people taking action to protect their private online data, there’s a rise in the use of password managers, multi-factor authentication, stronger password use or requirements, and much more. One of the ways that you can protect your accounts from hackers is through the use of single sign-on.

What Is SSO?

Single sign-on, better known as SSO by users, is an encrypted database that holds the key to your various accounts. You only have to log onto that one main hub, the single sign-on platform, and then you have access to all the associated SaaS applications. This effectively secures all your accounts by verifying your identity once, and simultaneously makes these various programs much easier to use. This saves a lot of time and, therefore, money if you regularly need the connected applications throughout your workday.

SSO often goes hand-in-hand with multi-factor authentication. The more secured your main hub of data is, the less risk you have of your personal information being compromised or your accounts hacked and used to spread malware to your friends lists.

Still sound overly complex? Here’s a real world example that you definitely know about: Google. When you log into that one central Google account, you can access your email, Drive, YouTube and a whole lot more. SSOs are a fast and secure way to easily access a network of interconnected applications without having to sign in to a bunch of different sites. You might use one in your personal life already.

Other Advantages of SSO

It’s quickly gaining popularity now, but SSO is not a brand-new concept. Before cybersecurity became as much of a priority as efficient workflow, many businesses viewed the practice as one extra barrier to start applications, or a costly hindrance rather than a security tool. However, SSO does more for convenience these days, too.

Consider this: You’re the manager of an organization with three different security levels, but everyone uses the same SSO platform. How can you guarantee that lower-level employees aren’t accessing files or applications that are either inappropriate or a waste of time for their position?

This is where some research comes in. Different SSO services may integrate with software, or have their own internal features, that let the group’s administrator create specific roles and privileges. They can then assign one to every individual, and from a bird’s-eye view of the organization, create various permissions and access for all three security levels. All of this creates, not only secure accounts for each employee, but an organization that’s better defended against intentional and accidental threats alike.

Conclusion

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to hack into accounts, steal log-in credentials, and/or sell your personal identifying information (PII) on the Dark Web. With threats abound, securing all of your accounts is paramount. That means:

  1. Complex, alphanumerical passwords that differ for every account

  2. Set up multi-factor authentication with QR codes, fingerprint or face ID, one-time passwords, or another preferred method to confirm your identity before log-in

  3. Logging out of accounts and shutting down systems when you’re done using them

  4. Secure password managers with encrypted databases to easily autofill log-in fields

  5. Locking down your workstation whenever you’re away, even if it’s only a few minutes

  6. Updating your systems and softwares as new versions become available

These are just some of the moving parts that go into your overarching cybersecurity posture. Keep an ear out for breaking industry news, trends, defenses and threats so that you can recognize and react to breaches as they come. More importantly, you can secure your accounts before hackers even get close.

References

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