Glossary

Single Sign On

Single sign on is a method of logging in and authenticating with a computer system once that then gives you access to multiple systems without having to enter separate login credentials on each one.

Terms related to Single Sign On: Office 365 Sign On, Multi-Factor Authentication, Cybersecurity, Algorithms, Authentication, Authorization, Biometrics, Social Engineering, Phishing.

Single Sign On (SSO) is a cybersecurity technology that allows an authorized user to authenticate themselves once when they initially sign into an organization’s security system. This initial authorization will typically be quite rigorous, often involve two-factor or multifactor authentication, including biometrics. Once a user is properly authenticated, the SSO system will then send authorized credentials to other applications, allowing the user to access them without having to sign in again.

SSO if most often used in medium-sized businesses and enterprises where individuals can access multiple systems across the organization’s networks. SSO has several benefits including reducing the time to access a system, removing the need to memorize multiple login and password combinations, reducing frustration with end users, streamlining workflow, and reducing the danger of social engineering and phishing.

SSO does have some disadvantages, including if a hacker, malicious actor or malware gets SSO access, that compromises any systems used by the SSO; an SSO must use strong encryption and authentication methods to prevent unauthorized access; loss of availability of SSO systems means a user will not be able to access any other systems, so they become a single point of failure. Good planning, authorization, and resilient systems can reduce or eliminate these risks.

Certain SSO systems can also use algorithms to request additional authorization under certain circumstances. For example, if a user is trying to access systems from an unusual location, device, or outside their regular work schedule, an SSO can demand a login with more stringent authentication.

Single Sign On Resources from Crossmatch