The world as we know it is digitally driven. Our lives are dependent on computers, data, and multiple applications, reinforcing our ability to memorize multiple passwords. However, use of multiple passwords often dismisses and avoids the approved security practices which we diligently want to follow.
This is where the concept of deploying a single sign-on (SSO) solution becomes important, as it meets the internal demands and external audience expectations by managing and maintaining multiple usernames and passwords. SSO not only ends the user's fatigue but it also compliments authorization and authentication challenges. The real question that now arises is whether an SSO can fulfill the need of a single password or quickly get out of hand even with a solid security strategy in place?
Well, the main challenge was to figure out ownership and appropriate technological solutions. This increased the demand for a platform that can economically deliver an engaging online experience without burning a hole in the pocket of the institutions to manage applications. Higher education always had an acute need for an SSO solution to manage the number of applications they may typically use daily, which can go from 10 to 50 or more, depending on the user base and the courses.
Supported by EVC Ventures, QuickLaunch work with hundreds of higher education IT professionals to manage their endless number of applications. Based on their analysis, we look at a cross-section of public, private, large and small schools, with an average institution employing close to 10 applications with multiple usernames and passwords for each of them.
Managing Single Sign-On via a Self-Service Platform
Trying to achieve digital excellence and getting the sprawl under control, the first step for education institutions is to centralize the management, governance, and deployment of these apps. Without a mechanism to centrally manage the expanse of applications, institutions face a great hindrance in their ability to drive a coherent and high impact digital strategy. While a few colleges and universities are actively addressing their need for a single sign-on solution, the industry at large is not. QuickLaunch strongly believes that the right time to fix this problem is now for the following reasons:
1) Single Sign-On Will Save Your Institution Money: If your school is more interested in allocating operation budget to academics, research and student support services than to redundant web platforms, then this should be enough reason for you to choose a single sign-on solution. After you have a rough estimate of how many applications you have, ask yourself the following:
- What problems are you trying to solve and what are the current challenges you are facing?
- How long have these issues been going on?
- What is your core directory?
- What is the total FTE + Faculty and Staff who access these applications?
- How many different usernames and passwords does your typical user have?
- What is your single source of truth for the master profile (i.e. AD)?
- What is your timeline for selecting a solution and implementing it?
Each one of these has a cost associated with it and there are often redundancies. Unequivocally and without a doubt, it is more efficient and cost-effective to manage all applications centrally to get a full picture of not just all the pain areas but all costs associated with them.
2) Enhanced Security: Creating an environment where login only happens once and does so with a familiar interface, can significantly reduce the possibility of phishing and ease out the username and password chant. Moreover, your SSO platform should be adept with password policies to provide extra layers of security ensuring a secure access. An SSO works its magic by using a variety of mechanisms to automate the process. The key to this platform is the ability to provide enhanced security via Multi-Factor Authentication and enforce a uniform authentication/authorization mechanism across the organization.
3) Reduced Costs: Select an environment where the Single Sign-On solution reduces cost on the following:
- A volume of help desk interactions.
- In-built SSO creation wizard, a platform that allows you to create applications without any support or additional development effort.
- Allows cloning applications from an application pool for configuring a new SSO, thus reducing time and effort.
- Hourly support model versus interaction-based support model.
4) Fixing Your Username and Password Problems Mean You Don’t Have To Fix It Later: Here’s a sneak peek into the future. With each number of application that an institution increases, it increases the cost and complexity required to manage and support them. All of this poses a threat to your institution's ability to deliver on its single sign-on strategy. The sooner you fix your multiple usernames and password problems, the sooner you can lean on your digital strategy to set you apart.
QuickLaunch as a platform has the tools and expertise to help you solve this problem. It institutes a governance strategy, to help reduce costs, reduce complexity and deliver greater digital outcomes.
The Bottom Line Is
If your institution is suffering from handling multiple applications with multiple usernames and password problems, you’re not alone. Leading institutions are already working to build their future digital strategies with this particular issue in mind. So, does your organization need Single Sign-On? The answer is very likely a resounding “Yes!” Can your organization afford Single Sign-On? Considering all the advantages, the prospect is much more probable than it might otherwise seem. But one thing is certain that if your organization has any interest in increased productivity, enhanced security or reduction of support costs, a serious evaluation of SSO solutions is absolutely essential and for those in the education sector, there’s no better place to start.
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