If you’re looking for the best SSO solution, you’ll want to keep reading. We found the top SSO solutions for businesses to help your company with user experience and security.
What is an SSO solution? A single sign-on solution is meant to provide users with a more efficient way to gain access to all of their accounts across multiple applications with just one login.
Top SSO solutions include the following:
What Are Single Sign-On Capabilities?
Single Sign-On is an authentication approach to centralized authentication under a single set of login credentials. Users can access several different websites, applications, or other resources with one combination of login information.
Typically, SSO is offered through a provider. The provider builds a “trust relationship” between SSO services and an identity provider. Identity and SSO providers work together to verify user credentials. Once the identity provider authenticates a user, the SSO provider generates an encrypted authentication token that allows that user to confirm their identity and access multiple participating websites or applications.
Several identity standards can support building trust relationships and secure communications between SSO providers, identity providers, and websites. A provider will usually include interoperability with multiple standards to support authentication for many applications.
Applications that call for different standards include the following:
- Software-as-a-Service Platforms: Cloud storage, online apps, and video conferencing will often leverage single sign-on to help users and secure their authentication front-ends. A provider will often use standards like Security Access Markup Language (SAML), Open Authentication (OAuth), OpenID Connect (OIDC), or a provider-specific standard like OneLogin App Catalog.
- Application Programming Interfaces: Programmers working with apps and building interoperable systems will often pass authentication credentials at the code level. Developers will often use OIDC or OAuth standards to authenticate users.
- Secure File Systems: When auditing and security are essential to protect information, like personal identifiable information, particularly on a single domain, many organizations will use either Kerberos or some combination of Kerberos and OAuth.
- Legacy Systems: A rare use case, specialty connections with legacy systems not compatible with modern SSO will use some form of secure connection through REST APIs or integration kits.
By far, the first use case is the most common, and many popular providers will use OIDC, SAML or OAuth to share login credentials securely. You’ve most likely seen this if you’ve used one set of credentials (such as Google or Facebook) to log in to an app on your phone. If you’ve been onboarded with a company as an employee and suddenly had access to several different resources, applications, and HR websites, you’ve experienced SSO as well.
The Top SSO Solutions in 2021
While standalone providers exist, many identity or authentication management providers also offer services. We’ll look at the top providers in the SSO space with that in mind.
Okta Identity Cloud
Okta is an enterprise-grade SSO provider that provides multi-factor authentication (MFA), biometric authentication, and several integrations through Kisi. Okta can even integrate with physical safeguards on doors and other areas, so long as the system supports them. Like Duo, this is a cloud-only solution that doesn’t have an on-premise version. Likewise, it doesn’t yet offer more advanced features like decentralized authentication. Pricing is relatively low but is based on the services included. For example, single sign-on services might cost up to $5 per month per user, but adding something like MFA can add up to an additional $6 per user per month.
Ping Intelligent Identity Platform
Users praise the ease of use that comes with Ping Identity. Based on SAML, it has straightforward implementation. At the same time, users have also reported that the interfaces are confusing, and the standards used to integrate with Ping aren’t aligned with broader standards. This includes the ability to configure the system for OIDC tokens. Additionally, some other customers expressed a lack of workflows or advanced features for the entry-level pricing (which starts at $45 per user per month but isn’t listed on the company website).
Duo provides a cloud-based service that allows users to log in to work apps via an organized dashboard. Organizations using Duo to manage SSO receive access to configuration systems that allow them to manage features like MFA policies, set risk-based authentication priorities that require increasing identification levels, and streamline end-user experiences. Duo also hosts the service, so you’ll find that while the experience is seamless, it is also a third-party product, and incidents like a lost phone can make authentication incredibly challenging. Also, some customers reported lagging or drop-offs between the app and the cloud-only service, which led to long wait times for MFA codes.
ForgeRock offers an enterprise-grade Identity Platform with offerings in cloud as a SaaS as well as on-premise. This software features a full suite of IAM, authentication and identity governance and administration (IGA) tools. While the suite of tools is robust and includes technologies like SSO and MFA, they can also prove to be difficult to manage for organizations that don’t come with internal, expert cloud and IT staff. Likewise, scaling rapidly can prove difficult, especially across federated identity systems or containers.
LastPass is nominally a password management tool, but the company does offer MFA and SSO as part of their LastPass Business services (alongside password management and other features like directory integration and an administrator dashboard).
One of the big benefits of LastPass is sharing password collections and the combination of desktop and web apps that provide SSO.
However, users do argue that while the name is LastPass “Business,” it doesn’t have the same level of enterprise features as other software. This includes a lack of support for LDAP directories. Additionally, because of the investment in password management, LastPass isn’t moving anytime soon towards passwordless authentication.
Microsoft Azure SSO
Microsoft offers SSO capabilities as part of its Azure cloud platform. Nominally, this solution is geared towards Active Directory setups on Azure and can support single sign-on across Microsoft applications. It also supports integrating credentials through SSOs with external identity managers like Google, Facebook, or SAML-based providers.
While Microsoft offers powerful SSO for their internal applications, they’ve also integrated several external capabilities. However, if you aren’t using Microsoft products as part of your business, this solution will be extremely limited.
1Kosmos BlockID and Secure Single Sign-On
1Kosmos BlockID brings together different features supporting SSO: MFA, FIDO2 compliance, and passwordless systems. The guiding philosophy of BlockID is streamlining user experience by eliminating the use of passwords, integrating simple online onboarding, and using MFA that includes advanced biometrics and identity proofing.
Unlike other providers, BlockID is one of the few to implement private, distributed ledgers to decentralize identity management and place ownership back in the hands of users. That means that users hold on to their identity information without needing a centralized, third-party vendor.
- Identity Proofing: BlockID includes Identity Assurance Level 2 (NIST 800-63A IAL2), detects fraudulent or duplicate identities, and establishes or reestablishes credential verification.
- Identity-Based Authentication Orchestration: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through identity credential triangulation and validation.
- Integration with Secure MFA: BlockID readily integrates with a standard-based API to operating systems, applications, and MFA infrastructure at AAL2. BlockID is also FIDO2 certified, protecting against attacks that attempt to circumvent multi-factor authentication.
- Cloud-Native Architecture: Flexible and scalable cloud architecture makes it simple to build applications using our standard API, including private blockchains.
- Privacy by Design: 1Kosmos protects personally identifiable information in a private blockchain and encrypts digital identities in secure enclaves only accessible through advanced biometric verification.
All of these features integrate with SSO, meaning that your users can leverage single sign-on while addressing some of the security challenges of modern authentication using advanced MFA and identity proofing.
If you want to learn more about BlockID and SSO, read our whitepaper on how to Go Beyond Passwordless Solutions and sign up for the 1Kosmos newsletter.