What's Weaker...Passwords or Your SSO Solution?

February 23, 2017

Few would argue that relying on passwords for user authentication is risky business. In fact, a new research report by Thycotic and Cybersecurity Ventures 1 shows us that an average of 95 passwords per second was stolen in 2016. This has caused enterprises to turn en masse to single sign-on (SSO), which allows users to securely access the applications they need with a single identity using any device.


But not all SSO solutions are equally secure. Some manage authentication for users accessing resources from desktops in a single security domain. Others deliver universal SSO across complex hybrid environments, boasting one-click access from any device and location to legacy on-premises applications as well as cloud-based and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps.


Federated SSO, for example, allows users to authenticate once and then use that authenticated session to access all of the applications they're authorized to use. Federation identity management takes advantage of standards to securely exchange user information. It offers greater security than simple store-and-forward solutions because it replaces passwords with signed assertions (or tokens), which minimize attack vectors. And because federated SSO is based on standards, it gives organizations control over who has access to what information and resources, regardless of where those resources reside and which type of device users choose to access them.


Federation is just one of the four key capabilities an SSO solution should deliver to create a true authentication authority that maximizes security across complex environments. If your SSO system is missing any of these four capabilities, your enterprise may not be as secure as you think. The choice is yours on how to ensure the most appropriate level of security for your enterprise and your users.


So, how can you tell if your SSO solution is as secure as you need it to be? To learn more about how to deploy the most secure SSO across complex environments while maintaining an excellent user experience, download our reference guide The Security Leader's Guide to SSO.


1 "An average 95 passwords stolen per second in 2016," accessed February 19, 2017, http://www.ciodive.com/news/an-average-95-passwords-stolen-per-second-in-2016-report-says/435204/