System administrators employ access governance solutions to allow organizational leaders the ability to easily support access rights and to manage the particulars of their organizations; for example, which users have access to what, when and why. But instead of being able to take a quick peek into their environments and get a detailed picture of the status quo, many access management processes remain cumbersome, and can be manual and even outdated. This is especially true when managing credentials and access for cloud applications. 

However, the biggest problem in regard to access is actually faced by users and not those managing the access. Even if the process is manual, those managing it must know what they need to do and how to do it. Users can easily get bogged down when they need to get on the move and serve their clients. As technology users, you often find yourself struggling to enter a password correctly, after discovering that for whatever reason, you now need to create a new one because the previous has expired. Frustration only begins to scratch the surface of the feeling.

Unfortunately for the out-of-luck user, they might be expressing something like, “Wouldn't it be great if I could log in quickly and easily to all of my applications without entering a username and password each time?” 

Users just want to get their jobs accomplished, not wanting to take the time to enter and re-enter login credentials as they move between devices or even locations. Technology does exist that allow IT administrators the ability to provide their users with better access to the systems they need to operate, while removing the cumbersome nature of an otherwise tedious process. With only a single set of credentials to remember, users can work from anywhere they are without fear of being hindered or stranded in IT no man’s land, where they previously may have had to worry about password locks and other IT help desk issues.

With cloud-based single sign-on technology, your employees, especially those that work outside the corporate network, can quickly and easily access applications from any authorized device with one single password and just a single username. Ease of use translates to ease of access, meaning employees can work productively. Personal devices used for business also will be able to enjoy the same features when using the corporate network.                                                                  

However, any hesitancy on your part to deploy these solutions creates a challenge for users trying to manage access to their personal devices, corporate devices or their traditional company workstations. I know that some of you would rather stick with manual processes, but if a user’s devices are not on the company network they cannot easily be authenticated with Active Directory.

This can be a difficult process. A type of federation is then necessary. Achieving SSO federation for cloud applications is not easy or affordable, and often not supported by the supplier. Web SSO is based on an intelligent browser plug-in that processes the various log-ins for cloud applications automatically. For the log-in details, the plug-in communicates with the single sign-on service in your organization’s own network or securely maintained in in the cloud. For the end-user, the plug-in operates completely transparently and he or she can enjoy the SSO experience on any device and from any location. 

This is where such solutions really shine. Users from virtually any connected device can connect from almost anywhere. Without such solutions, this is where hello turns to goodbye, and other choice words are muttered.

Dean Wiech
Dean Wiech

is managing director of Tools4ever.