We need each other. At least 80% of us will, according to Gartner.

The analyst firm says over the next three years, federated single sign-on will be the most predominant SSO technology, needed by some 80% of enterprises.

That's a number you can't hide from if you're an identity or security architect, a CIO or even a CEO.

You'll need connections. And you'll need to build them and trust them.

Gartner's take is that SSO strategies executed with precision will pay off in numerous ways, including cost reduction (reduced password-related support) and most of all, making life easier on end-users, who are using more applications across more devices and networks than ever before.

Federated SSO means better authentication, says Gartner, and if you are an end-user, more of what really matters - convenience and usability.

You can build it, but they won't come if they can't figure out how to use it or why they should value it.

But while Gartner is freely giving of its prediction, it won't come without a cost to the enterprise. Dollars and time will be spent, but if Gartner is on target, we're talking about an investment that likely will deliver on the age-old promise of a healthy return.

Gartner's advice, however, is to gauge how deep into the SSO pool you want, or need, to go to find tangible results.

"Solutions are not 'one size fits all,' and solutions that provide SSO to all target systems may be deemed too expensive. Therefore, a best practice is to identify the tactical and strategic approaches that reduce enough of the problem space over time and within budget," Gregg Kreizman, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "Organizations implementing SSO, particularly to systems that hold sensitive data, should implement risk-appropriate authentication methods with the SSO system."

Gartner lays out a few considerations, including scoping out user populations, use cases and applications, and application architectures. Enterprises should consider what applications may be retired within the course of an identity project and consider leaving them out of the identity equation now.  They should evaluate how current tools or services might fit in, such as password synch or authentication to current directories. And enterprises should tackle Web architectures first (re: software-as-a-service commitments, needs and wants), according to Gartner.


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