The current explosion of web-enabled apps and services has created new opportunities and challenges for many businesses and organizations. It's driving down the costs of doing business by leveraging a massive reach and data collection.
Simultaneously, it’s adding service value for users and consumers. This expansion, however, has created an issue with credentials management for employees and staff across disparate services.
The latest evolution of services that seeks to solve this issue is known as cloud single-sign-on, or Cloud SSO. This is a type of service that seeks to centralize the management and storage of access credentials and provide a single point of entry for multiple web apps and platforms in a unified interface. The obvious benefit of such an arrangement is that users would now only be required to remember one set of credentials for all services, which enhances the overall security and convenience of all of them at once.
Managing Identity & Access With Cloud SSO
Most Cloud SSO providers operate in a similar fashion. They are primarily aimed at businesses with pre existing workflows that incorporate multiple web applications. They seek to offer these companies a turnkey solution for user access that integrates their current applications and provides a framework for easy and inexpensive expansion.
Commonly, enterprise-grade providers have designed their platforms to easily connect to existing corporate login systems, such as Active Directory and LDAP. This provides an immediate advantage to larger organizations that already manage user access through these types of systems, and allows them to expand their management coverage to external apps and toolsets in use by employees.
Security Issues With Cloud SSO
While the cost, efficiency, and management benefits that are provided by Cloud SSO are numerous, the potential pitfalls are as well. The primary concern is that the centralization of access for several services at once also provides a larger and more obvious target for hackers and others seeking to gain illegitimate entry to business apps. This kind of all eggs in one basket approach creates a risk that in the event of a security incident, what may have been a small breach with previous user management policies could balloon into a major, business-threatening event.
In addition to deliberate attempts by unauthorized users to gain access, this type of platform also makes the likelihood of inadvertent compromise greater. If an employee is using their services while traveling, or from outside the corporate environment, the possibility that they may accidentally leave a public PC logged into the system would create an enormous security issue in a way that would have been previously impossible.
Since this is an emerging and ever-growing service industry, it can be hard to keep track of where to turn when seeking a stable and trusted provider of Cloud SSO services. Below are a few providers with established track records, as well as some basic information about them: