Almost every business today works with dozens of digital applications, usually on a daily basis. Unfortunately, asking employees to maintain their own passwords to every application they must use presents inefficiencies as well as security risks. Whether its stale, unchanging credentials or passwords that are used and re-used for every application, employee-managed accounts can be an IT nightmare.
Luckily, single sign-on (SSO) solutions solve the problem. These allow for network administrators to control credentials on the back-end and give employees a single password from which to log into every application via a central user interface.
This guide will help introduce you to the solutions on the market, including our best picks of OneLogin and JumpCloud, and what they enable your organization to do. Our pricing and negotiation sections will help walk you through the process of selecting a service.
OneLogin is our best pick for SSO solutions for small businesses because it offers a customizable service that can easily scale with your growing business. This company maintains a straightforward implementation process that small businesses can adapt to their existing workflows without grinding productivity to a halt. Moreover, OneLogin is a user-friendly product that has little learning curve for the end user.
With unique features like mapping and self-registration pages, OneLogin grants an additional level of customization and control to administrators of the system. While these tools mean a bit more work on the implementation side, they also mean a greater latitude of control for the organization when it comes to setting up and managing its SSO solution.
Okta Identity Management is a highly effective and comprehensive single sign-on (SSO) solution. In addition to its integration with a wide variety of directory types, detailed reporting and user-friendly experience, Okta offers a policy engine that gives administrators a high-level of control over user permissions and access.
Okta maintains several pricing packages, starting at $1 per user per month for basic SSO functionality. To enable multi-factor authentication, which is a must for security-minded businesses, Okta costs $3 per user per month. The company also offers a customizable enterprise service, recommended for 5,000-plus users. This plan requires a quote from a sales representative.
JumpCloud is our pick for best free SSO solution because it offers an effective, comprehensive product that is free for up to 10 users. A small team can use JumpCloud for a full SSO solution experience without paying a dime, making it one of the most attractive free options we reviewed. JumpCloud also offers a full range of the most important features we looked for in the SSO solutions we reviewed. JumpCloud offers administrators several ways to manage users, including its central Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS), which can tie users to the applications, devices, and networks needed for them to work productively. Users are easily managed by creating or importing accounts to the JumpCloud console, where they can be mapped to different devices, apps, and networks. Administrators can also create groups to manage several users at once.
The SSO industry demand has increased as more businesses adopt cloud-based applications. The industry is expected to grow at a steady rate and eclipse $1.5 billion by 2021, according to research from Markets and Markets.
The projected growth of the SSO industry underpins the increasing need for efficiency and security when it comes to accessing digital applications for businesses. According to Datamation, the average organization used 1,427 different cloud services in 2017, which represented a 23.7 percent increase from the year before.
"The average employee actively uses 36 cloud services at work, including nine collaboration services, six file sharing services, and five content sharing services," Datamation wrote.
The growth of cloud adoption is focused in certain industries more than others. For example, technology companies are very likely to employ cloud services, as well as manufacturing, business services, and energy companies. It follows, then, that SSO adoption should remain prevalent in these industries as well.
With a slew of emerging markets yet to fully adopt digital technologies, it's a relatively safe bet that growth will continue.
Most SSO solutions are cloud-based and priced by a monthly subscription model. Most monthly subscriptions tend to range from $1 to $10 per user each month. Enterprise SSO solutions, which are typically more comprehensive and wide-ranging, are sometimes customizable and require a quote from the vendor.
It is uncommon, but some SSO solutions post a monthly rate for enterprise solutions. One of the vendors in our review offered an enterprise SSO solution for $250 per year. Most solutions like this, however, require a quote due to their often specific and custom nature.
Editor's Note: Interested in a single sign-on solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help:
To choose the best SSO solutions for businesses, we analyzed dozens of reputable software companies. Our selection was based on user feedback, previous reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings. From there, we more closely examined our list and narrowed it down to a pool of finalists.
To select the final best picks candidates, we analyzed the following:
Ease of use
Below are our reviews of the best single sign-on solutions.
When negotiating the purchase of an SSO solution, it's important to understand both the needs of your organization and the capabilities of the software you're purchasing. Consider your security needs, and identify applications that need to be integrated. From there, you're ready to begin contacting vendors. Here are a few things you should do during the process:
Contact multiple vendors and have them walk you through feature by feature
Ask for recommendations from other SSO users and scour online reviews
Request free demos whenever possible
Ask about any discounts or deals for which your business might qualify
Request a detailed breakdown of pricing and fee structure
Cloud-based SSOs are often month-to-month or based on annual contracts. If you are going to sign a long-term contract, be sure you understand the ins and outs of what you'll be getting for the price, and what level of support you're entitled to. As always, it's important to have an attorney look over any contract before you sign.