Companies looking for ways to adjust to the “new normal” of remote working are searching for new tools to help them succeed. One of the most valuable and versatile tools for managing remote digital access already exists. Single Sign On (SSO) offers exactly what the times demand—a less complicated user experience, increased security, and a corresponding reduction of the demands on your already overburdened IT and HR personnel.
With SSO, employees can access multiple network destinations (cloud-based applications, employee benefits, etc.) with a single login, username, and password, even if those destinations utilize different platforms and technology.
Even before the pandemic, SSO was helping companies improve their digital experience to meet today’s expectations for faster, easier online access to a variety of applications on multiple devices. The huge migration of employees from onsite to offsite because of COVID-19 has brought the benefits of SSO into sharper focus, and made it increasingly essential to larger companies and organizations.
Let’s start with something that’s a chief concern of companies even in the best of times: security. The bad actors who want to hack into your network haven’t taken the past several months off. If anything, they’ve increased their efforts in an attempt to capitalize on the chaos and distraction of the pandemic. According to one survey, 26% of security and IT leaders have seen an increase in cyber-attacks aimed at people working from home since the middle of March.1
Some of those attacks are attempting to take advantage of your employees’ need to send and receive data remotely on an increased number of devices (laptops, tablets and smart phones) and on often-insecure Wi-Fi connections. Businesses are also seeing hackers use employee concern over COVID to their advantage. Emails purporting to be from public health officials and other authorities appear to offer links to pandemic information or assistance but are actually phishing or installing malspam or ransomware.
The primary reason for security breaches in 81% of all cases is a compromised password.2 The ever-growing number of passwords we’re asked to create has made it easier for bad actors to exploit this vulnerability, since with potentially dozens of passwords to invent and remember, many of us default to using overly simple and easily hackable options. Often employees will use the same passwords on their personal and business accounts, further increasing your company’s exposure to attack. Because Single Sign-On technology means only one password to access all or most of the digital assets and applications employees need, it’s much more reasonable to get employees to cooperate with your request that they create a single, complex password that’s much harder to compromise. One complex password that meets all the criteria for frustrating bad actors is more secure than half a dozen hastily created and often repurposed passwords using an employee’s birthday, the name their pet or other information hackers are good at figuring out.
One reason it can be easier for hackers to breach your network these days is simply because your IT department have all they can handle getting everyone online and keeping them there. With so much to do, time spent resetting forgotten passwords and unlocking access to devices and networks looms large. SSO can help here, too, not merely by making passwords harder to hack, but also by giving your employees fewer of them to remember—and forget. The less time your overburdened IT people have to spend resetting passwords, the more time they have to keep your company connected and safe. A single password also makes it much easier and faster for IT personnel to block access to sensitive company information in the case of employees who leave the company.
Less password fatigue also means that employees are more inclined to access the things you want them to access—like benefits. Companies often find employee participation goes up when the barrier to access—making and remembering yet another password—comes down. Sparing employees frustration with passwords is one more way to boost overall satisfaction.
According to one study, two thirds of all workers are currently working from home at least part of the week due to the pandemic.3 Many, no doubt, will continue to work remotely even after things return to normal. So, the investment your company makes in SSO today will pay dividends in the short term and the long term.
- “Pandemic impact report: Security leaders weigh in,” CSO, April 2020: https://www.csoonline.com/article/3535195/pandemic-impact-report-security-leaders-weigh-in.html
- “More companies use multi-factor authentication, but security still weak from poor password habits,” TechRepublic, October 2019: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/more-companies-use-multi-factor-authentication-but-security-still-weak-from-poor-password-habits/
- “Working From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic: The State of Remote Work,” Clutch, April 2020: https://clutch.co/real-estate/resources/state-of-remote-work-during-coronavirus-pandemic