Authentication schemes are typically the first line of defense against cyber threats. Entering a username and password, for instance, is an authentication scheme. Whether you are trying to connect to a private network or access your online bank account, you may have to enter a username and password. In recent years, however, single-sign on (SSO) has become a popular alternative to traditional login schemes.

Overview of SSOs

SSO is a method of authentication that involves a single, shared login for multiple accounts. The credentials with which you log in are good for multiple accounts. After logging or signing in via SSO, you can access all of the associated accounts.

SSO isn’t the same as a one-time-use password. SSO is a method of authentication that allows users to log in to multiple accounts with a single login. You won’t have to log in to each account individually. Instead, you can perform a single SSO login, at which point you’ll automatically be logged in to all of the accounted accounts.

How SSO Works

SSO works like most traditional login schemes; the only difference is that it allows you to access multiple accounts. Some SSO schemes involve a username and password. Other SSO schemes involve a personal identification number (PIN) or passcode. Usernames, passwords, PINs and passcodes are all credentials. Different SSO schemes may use different types of credentials, but they all involve a single login for multiple accounts.

Some SSO schemes use specific protocols. Some of the most common SSO protocols include Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Whether powered by a protocol or not, though, all SSO schemes allow you to access multiple accounts with a single login.

Is SSO Secure?

Security is a concern when using SSO. If your SSO login is compromised, all of the accounts with which it’s associated may become compromised as well.

There are ways to protect against SSO-related breaches. If your SSO account uses a password, for instance, make sure it’s a long and complex password. Including special characters in the password will make it harder to crack. By creating a long and complex password, your SSO account and all of the accounts with which it’s associated will be better protected against breaches.

You’ll have an easier time managing passwords when using SSO. You won’t have to keep track of multiple account passwords. Instead, you’ll have a single password: the SSO account password.