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Enterprise Single Sign On Architecture

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Organizations are faced with complex networking challenges; everything from ensuring security to ease of use. IT managers are responsible for ensuring there is a productive network in place. What is often forgotten or set aside for future projects is SSO implementation. Tools4ever’s white paper addresses the advantages of an SSO implementation and how its Enterprise Single Sign On Manager (E-SSOM) can help solve these issues.

Organizations operate complex networks comprising of a variety of applications running on multiple systems. Users need to have access to a various applications for things such as e-mail, the helpdesk, document management, customer data and operational & financial processes. In order to comply with increasingly strict security requirements, end-users have to enter separate username and password combinations for each application. This can easily involve entering credentials for 12 different applications or more [Source: SINGLE SIGN ON SURVEY REPORT, July 2011]. This produces a number of issues:

* The manual entry of credentials is time-consuming and far from user-friendly.
* Users manage their usernames and passwords with unsafe techniques, e.g. sticky notes, pieces of paper, very simple passwords, etc.
* The helpdesk frequently fields calls from users who have forgotten their passwords, resulting in elevated support costs.

For system administration and information security, various (counter) measures are taken to keep the network safe, such as using complex passwords, setting a maximum validity period for passwords and instructing users not to write down their passwords. These measures produce increasing frustration amongst users, and more often than not, a deluge of password reset calls to helpdesk. These issues gave rise to the development of Enterprise Single Sign On (SSO) solutions. Once a SSO solution has been set-up, users only have to log into each application once, after which the SSO solution will automatically remember each set of credentials used for each application. The single login can be further simplified and secured by expanding SSO with authentication management. Then the login credentials are no longer based on a username and password, but are replaced by a combination of a smartcard and PIN code. Users will then be able to log in by presenting their smart card to a card reader connected to their PC and entering a PIN code. This means they no longer have to remember any (complex) passwords, yet still have direct access to all authorized applications across the network. The result is secure access (based on two-factor authentication) as well as optimum user convenience.