Organizations are continuously increasing the number of applications that are used within their network. Through SaaS based solutions, it is very critical that employees have the assurance that they can use one identity for gaining secure access to the applications and various other resources that are into use. The entire process of accessing much businesses IT resources becomes simplified and efficient if the employees have single username and password at their fingertips. Centralizing control over the IT resources of the enterprises ensures improvement in security and control by the administrators.
Organizations are using more SaaS based applications for productivity as cloud tech and tools are all the more readily available. With increasing number of SaaS apps, managing accounts and accessing rights becomes challenging for the administrators and the challenge for the users comes in remembering various passwords. Also, management of these applications on an individual basis leads to extra work and is insecure as well.
The solution for all the challenges being faced is single sign-on. It is supposed to be the simplest way for managing various apps and at the same time provide users with a steady sign-on experience. Azure Active Directory or Azure AD offers a robust SSO solution and has countless obtainable pre-integrated applications along with tutorials so that admins could set up a new app and start provisioning users at the earliest.
Once SSO is integrated for an application which is already up and running, the vital point that should be noticed the user experience should not get affected. The users would start using their Azure AD credentials to sign for all applications. It could also happen that users might require using a different portal for accessing the applications.
After a user “signs in” to an application, they have to undergo an authentication process where they need to prove their identity and credibility. In the absence of single sign-on, this usually is done by entering the credentials for each application that user has access and it is expected that the user would be aware of the same, which increases the risk of reusing passwords or using weak passwords. Now Azure AD supports three ways for signing in to applications, which are Password-based Single Sign-On, Federated Single Sign-On and Existing Single Sign-On.
While configuring single sign-on for any application, the Azure management portal offers an option of “Existing Single Sign-On”. This option permits the administrator to generate a link to an application and get it placed on the access panel for particular users.
Azure make use of the OAuth protocol to take care of the authorization. SaaS based applications such Google apps, AWS and Salesforce can influence SAML to enable the sign-on access using the same credentials that are configured in Azure. Authentication of Identities stored in Azure can happen through the REST-based APIs. Azure also offers centralized application access through various protocols.
Leveraging of the application access capabilities of Azure can be executed either on the application itself or through Azure’s end user portal. Users working with SaaS based applications like G Suite, AWS, and Salesforce have the advantage of gaining access with a single click from their portals and Azure is capable of handling the entire authentication process in hundred percent secured way. Users, in order to avail authentication that is service provider –initiated, can also log in directly to applications. It is vital that the access is centralized in order to ensure ongoing efficiency and security of any organization.
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