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What is Single Sign-on?

Nowadays, everyone has a lot of usernames and passwords to log in to websites and applications. Many usernames and passwords are difficult to remember, and writing them down on post-its is not secure. Single Sign-on (SSO) can help. In this article, you will read what Single Sign-on is and how to use it at one.com.


Brief Summary


Single Sign-On (SSO) is a way to log in to multiple websites or applications using just one set of login credentials. This means you don’t have to remember multiple usernames and passwords for different sites. Once you log in to one site, you can access other sites without having to log in again.

Single sign-on meaning

Single Sign-on, also known as SSO, is an authentication method that allows you to securely log in to multiple applications or websites with just 1 set of login credentials. You don’t have to remember different usernames and passwords anymore.

An excellent example of Single Sign-on is when you log in to Gmail with your Google account and be automatically logged in to YouTube, Google Analytics and other Google applications. Another example is when you log in to Instagram with your Facebook account.

How does Single Sign-on work?

Single Sign-on is a technique that is quite difficult to understand. To make it easier to explain, you read below what exactly happens when you log in to a website or application.

  1. A user wants to log in to a website or application, for example, to Gmail with their Google account. This is the service provider.
  2. The service provider creates a so-called token containing the user’s identity, e.g. his email address. 
  3. Next, the token is sent to the identity provider to authenticate the user.
  4. The identity provider checks whether the user is already authenticated. Is he not? The user must enter his login credentials.
  5. Once the identity provider authenticates the user, the identity provider sends a token back to the service provider to confirm authentication.
  6. The user can now log in to the service provider.

The benefits of Single Sign-on

By using Single Sign-on, you automatically get valuable benefits. For example:

  • Ease of use
    You can remember a few usernames and passwords.
  • Better security
    Your accounts are more secure because you no longer need to keep passwords on paper to remember them.
  • More productive
    You save time by not having to log in or reapply the password to every website or application.

Is Single Sign-on secure?

In general, Single Sign-on is secure. First of all, you no longer have to remember a lot of usernames and passwords. You can log in to multiple applications with just 1 username and password. So you do not have to write them down on paper (which might get into the wrong hands).

In addition, Single Sign-on makes it easier for IT departments to deactivate 1 account if someone leaves the organisation or the account ends up in the wrong hands. Access to multiple applications is blocked at once. IT departments can also set up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). For example, by sending a text message containing a code to be used for logging in.

However, there is a ‘but’. If your account is hacked, malicious people will instantly access all websites and applications linked to the account. Therefore, you must create a secure password and change it regularly.

Single Sign-on protocols

Several protocols are used to enable Single Sign-on. These protocols allow service providers to cooperate with identity providers to verify a user’s authentication. 

Examples of protocols:

  1. Security Access Markup Language (SAML)
  2. OpenID
  3. Federated Identity Management (FIM)
  4. OAuth

Single Sign-on software

Several software solutions exist to allow you to apply Single Sign-on. Well-known software providers are:

  1. Okta
  2. Microsoft Azure Active Directory
  3. Ping Identity
  4. OneLogin
  5. Google Cloud Identity

Single Sign-on at one.com

Do you use Managed WordPress hosting at one.com? Or are you interested in this hosting solution? You can use Single Sign-on. In addition, with Managed WordPress hosting, you are protected against spam and benefit from daily automatic updates of the core, plugins and themes.

Are you interested in Managed WordPress hosting? You can add it to your WordPress hosting plan at one.com.

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