5 Steps to Successful Single Sign-On Implementation

For years now, single sign-on (SSO) authentication has provided companies comfort in navigating through business and third-party applications. 

It’s allowed firms to increase their productivity, accelerate the adoption of company apps, and more importantly minimise lousy password habits. It’s a real thing. 

While SSO authentication reduces downtime and password-related costs, there’s a host of expensive pitfalls in the journey from SSO as a concept to successful SSO implementation. 

The challenge often arrives with integration complexity, evolving corporate roadmaps, and identity sprawls.

Providing a good SSO user experience has become complex. 


Technical professionals are often responsible for implementing SSO authentication initiatives, but they also need to balance enterprise security risk and user convenience.

In this blog post, we take a look at the steps business leaders should take to create a distinct identity and access management roadmap and ensure effective single sign-on deployment. 

1. Review Objectives and Develop an Application Model

You should look at every SSO solution as an opportunity to achieve functional goals and to position your organisation to support future changes and development.

Analyse the options for SSO implementation and determine which ones are effective for your present and future situations. This will help your business stay on top of the evolving demands of the IAM infrastructure.

It’s also important to identify all the applications that need to be rolled out in different phases. In most cases, it’s advised not to consider apps that are not compliant and don’t support an authentication process.

Apart from that, your business should base your choice on the systems used by employees like intranet or emails. It’s also important to ensure that the SSO systems to be implemented work well with your existing IT infrastructure.

Implementing SSO can be a big task for any business. This is why we recommend a phased approach to meet your subset of user constituencies. 

2. Create Architecture to Support Single Sign-On

The importance of choosing the best framework for your SSO implementation could not be understated. After all, it ensures that all open standards and protocols are specifically designed for web applications.

Initially, business leaders should decide whether to operate SSO software on-premise or via the cloud. Considering whether a business has the resources and skills to run SSO securely is a key to ensuring high availability.

Other than designing architecture, businesses can also opt for DaaS or IAM solutions. 

DaaS solutions can help connect users to a series of devices such as Linux, Windows, and Mac as well as cloud and on-premise applications.

Alternatively, IAM solutions simplify the deployment process by systematically importing the existing user groups from Active directory. This is where the identity provider delegates all authentication requests to a specified Active list to ensure a smooth sign-on process.

3. Establish Access Control Requirements

Proper user authentication is a critical aspect of providing SSO. 

As cybersecurity is now a constant battle, your business should be able to take an adaptive trust-based approach to user authentication.

In establishing access control, your business must take into account access to API’s, Amazon Web Services, and other business-related applications.

For the best results, you may want to consider forced session timeouts to prevent users from logging into your system without your approval.

Furthermore, it’s essential to identify the owners of shared business accounts in your system to have a clear plan before an SSO rollout. This helps to sync user repositories, passwords, and keep a consistent tune of your processes.

It’s also appropriate to disallow email changes, password resets, and username or password logins. This is a great way of evaluating signals that ensures the identity of the user and harmful behaviour that may indicate added risk.

4. Determine Availability

One of the most important things you can do to guarantee successful SSO implementation?

Assess requirements such as SLA, availability, and response times. 

You should spend time researching what the cost of downtime, system failures, and service level outages could be. Keep in mind that an application cannot be accessible if the network of the identity provider goes down.

It’s invaluable for businesses to make sure that your SSO solution can incorporate with multiple LDAP directories or active directory.

This ensures that your users can still authenticate other controllers through delegated verification regardless if one domain controller is down.

You should also integrate single sign-on logs into your monitoring and log the aggregated solution. It’s best to ensure that the SSO logs are correctly maintained as part of your business’ data retention regulations.

5. Test and Adjust

Feedback and testing are crucial in ensuring the successful rollout of SSO. 

Here’s why…

SSO significantly changes the way people log into different applications, albeit it a good thing. 

You may want to take into consideration that not everyone, especially senior staff, do not see this in the same way. 

We suggest conducting beta testing for your SSO solution to gather feedback in order to address every problem properly.

This will help identify gaps within your infrastructure and allow you to adjust your current IAM tools by adding innovative programs and services. 

Always start small with the implementation of SSO, engage employees to increase the chances of your success.

Key Takeaways

Proper preparation and planning are at the top of the SSO best practices list. 

Options for implementing SSO often vary depending on the scope of the implementation and the size of the business. 

Keep these five tips in mind to successfully implement SSO and help reduce the number of different logins employees need to do their jobs.

Why not test the IAM maturity of your company to see what areas of your company are at risk and what you can do to ensure ultimate protection. Simply click the button below to get started  


A cybersecurity expert dedicated to protecting organisations against the digital risks associated with digital transformation.

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