Your business needs better access control and management. Consider the benefits of single sign-on solutions to enhance productivity and improve security.

The proliferation of devices, services and cloud-based solutions creates a challenge: How do you effectively secure data without frustrating users and reducing productivity?

Single sign-on (SSO) solutions offer a way to both boost security and improve productivity — let's dig into the key benefits of single sign-on for your business.

The Single Sign-On Solution

Increased complexity and friction accessing online services frustrates both user productivity and IT security efforts. Traditionally, more services mean more passwords for staff to remember, while growing worker populations make it difficult for IT professionals to manage both user access and device sprawl. Passwords aren't getting the job done. As noted by Time, the most popular password in both 2016 and 2017 was "123456." According to the GTIC 2017 Q3 Threat Intelligence Report, 75 percent of all insider threats are accidental, and in 30 percent of cases users don't know they've put organizations at risk.

SSO solutions simplify the equation by providing what's known as "federated access": Using a primary set of credentials, employees log into secure corporate platforms that provide access to all services and applications they need to do their jobs. Instead of gating logins on a per-application basis, SSO validates staff during sign-in to enable streamlined use. In effect, SSO provides a way to balance the need for ease of use against increasing IT oversight, improving the user experience without sacrificing security.

Boosting Productivity

The benefits of single sign-on? The biggest is productivity. When implemented properly, single sign-on delivers productivity on day one. Why? Because users no longer have to waste time trying to retrieve or remember username and password combinations for services they use every day. It's a critical benefit — even small distractions can derail productivity, and each time users are forced to stop and sign in to a new service their productivity declines.

Consider also the example of the Orange Unified School District. As reported by EdSurge, moving to SSO shifted 29,000 out of 32,000 users to single sign-on in just two years. According to Tam Nguyen, the district's Director of Information Technology, SSO now saves more than 2,500 hours of instructional time every month. With more than 30 teaching applications across a host of services and platforms, teachers were forced to constantly interrupt lessons and projects to access new resources. With SSO this is no longer an issue, giving them more productive and instructive time with students.

SSO also offers advantages for cross-department access. With SSO solutions in place, users can easily make HR requests, manage payroll preferences and check work schedules, all without sending an email or making a trip to the HR office. This Federated SSO capability is available today across ADP products, and clients can leverage to streamline their workers access to our services. The result? Productivity through simplicity.

Breaking Bad Habits

Passwords are problematic at best, and devastating to corporate data at worst. As the number of devices, applications and services grows across corporate IT environments, employees are tasked with remembering an increasing number of separate username and password combinations.

How many? Security Magazine notes that the average user now manages 191 passwords. The logical consequence? Staff reuse familiar passwords as much as possible to reduce complexity and make their lives easier, in turn making it easier for attackers to gain network access. There's some progress in this area. According to Wired, the state of California is set to introduce legislation which would ban insecure default passwords on new devices — think "Password123," "star wars" or "qwerty."

SSO solutions virtually eliminate the need for multiple passwords. Using the credentials provided by the designated identity provider, staff can log in once to access everything they need. In addition, they're naturally secure in environments that consist of applications and services approved by IT for corporate use.

Bolstering Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are critical to your organization. Insecure apps and services lead to data breaches, fraud and PR nightmares, while compliance challenges can result in sanctions, fines or time-consuming audits. From a security perspective, the need for SSO stems from the realization that your organization is responsible for any access given to employees.

Much like the management of health care and financial data in the cloud, it's the first-party owner of this data, your business, that's responsible for secure use. Federated SSO gives IT the visibility needed to manage user behavior across corporate services and ensure their level of access matches their business need and security standards.

This ties directly into the need for compliance, with regulatory bodies and auditing agencies requiring that businesses demonstrate they have effective methods to curtail access when it's no longer needed. Consider the example of a departing HR manager. In a non-SSO scenario, it could take weeks or months for IT to lock down all access across multiple cloud-based applications and services. Using SSO, you can immediately terminate access to all sensitive data in one shot.

Balancing Help Desk Needs

Calling the help desk isn't cheap. Organizations typically pay $20 or more per call, which can quickly add up if users can't remember multiple passwords or find themselves locked out of commonly used applications. Data from ADP shows a significant reduction in calls for service when relying on Federated SSO; on average, a business sees a drop of 65-70 percent. The likelihood of users forgetting the account they use every day is very low, and there's probably an effective mechanism for self-recovery of passwords in place already at their employer.

This increased familiarity lessens confusion and frustration if they forget their password, especially when SSO solutions provide a straightforward way to recover lost passwords without submitting a help desk ticket.

Simple, Secure, Seamless

That's the access goal for your organization, and it's enabled through the use of SSO solutions. From improved productivity to mitigated password risks, enhanced security and reduced help desk costs, the benefits of SSO make it a must-have for businesses of any size.

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