Single Sign-On (SSO) as a Means of Access Control and Governance

Written by Brenna Lee on December 10, 2021

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Access governance or identity governance and administration (IGA) is an important part of identity and access management (IAM) that seeks to mitigate the risks associated with end users having unnecessary access levels and permissions. Access governance and control is important for organizations of all sizes to ensure that: 

  • Overall risk is reduced – the right people have the right level of access.
  • There is a high degree of oversight across the IT environment.
  • The burden on IT admins is reduced with the use of best practices.

Without an IGA solution in place, your organization sits at higher risk for failing an audit, experiencing an otherwise preventable external data breach, and even internal threats due to disgruntled employees.

Plus, given the prevalence of remote work, the pace at which many organizations need to scale, and the sheer number of IT resources that users now connect to on a daily basis, a comprehensive IAM solution that enables access control and governance is essential. A tool like this should include True Single Sign-OnTM (True SSOTM) capabilities that allow users to connect to virtually any IT resource via single sign-on (SSO) while providing IT increased control over identities, devices, and access.

There are many point solutions on the market, including web app SSO solutions, that address various identity and access management issues. However, organizations want to see it all in one place, from a single provider. In response, the market has begun a shift from the traditional layered approach that requires IT to buy and maintain a variety of disparate tools. The result? IT teams can view on a macro level the power of a comprehensive IAM and SSO platform that centralizes identities and access and allows for complete access governance.

The Role of True SSO in Access Governance

To be clear, True Single Sign-On is not the same as web application single sign-on. 

Web app SSO allows users to efficiently sign in to one type of IT resource, web applications, and is typically layered on top of an on-prem directory service, such as the legacy Microsoft Active Directory.

True SSO, on the other hand, allows users to efficiently sign in to virtually all of their IT resources, including devices, web and legacy apps, networks, physical and virtual file servers, and more. A tool like True SSO is part of a cloud directory platform that serves as a comprehensive IAM solution.

Another difference? Web app SSO is not a complete solution for access governance because it covers only a small portion of the IT resources that users access. True SSO, however, is a staple in an effective IAM solution that allows for complete access governance by IT. IT can monitor and change access levels of individuals or groups of users from a single pane of glass.

Using JumpCloud’s True SSO capabilities, IT can quickly provision and deprovision user SSO access to the specific resource needed. JumpCloud has nearly a thousand pre-configured SAML (web) applications and can connect to thousands of legacy applications via LDAP, so you’ll be able to connect users to all of the applications they currently use — and to new ones you employ in the future. Users can also be connected to networks, devices, and other IT resources using SSO over a variety of supported protocols like RADIUS, LDAP, OAuth, and SSH. Within the directory, IT can see what different users and user groups have access to and promptly reduce or remove unnecessary access altogether.

Other Layers of Access Governance and Protection

Identity verification and access provisioning/deprovisioning are key elements of access governance and protection. Implementation of step-up MFA and the principle of least privilege access will ensure that users have access to only what they need to do their jobs.

IT admins will also want to use multi-factor authentication (MFA) on top of SSO to verify the identities of the user attempting to access resources. To take security one step further, IT can also implement conditional access policies to ensure users only access resources via trusted devices and networks.

Each of these capabilities, used in conjunction with True SSO, will set your organization up for success by significantly reducing the risks that stem from users having more access than they need to do their jobs. 

The Impact of True SSO on Compliance

Access governance is an important component of many common compliance standards, including GDPR, SOX, HIPAA, GLBA, FERPA, CCPA, and more. No matter what industry your organization falls into, you’re probably governed by one or more compliance regulations, especially if you collect or store customer information. 

Adopting a comprehensive IAM and SSO solution like the JumpCloud Directory Platform can have a huge impact on your compliance and security efforts. By using True SSO, MFA, least privilege access, step-up authentication, and conditional access policies, you’ll ensure that identities are verifiable and that only the right users can access only the information, data, and resources they need. By enabling IT to control access to virtually all organizational resources from a central hub, the organization as a whole is set up for success with simplified and streamlined access management processes.

IT admins can set up groups in a way that fits the organization’s specific processes, department setup, and workflows to ensure that different user groups have the access they need to do their jobs and nothing more. For employee onboarding and offboarding, IT can provision or deprovision users’ SSO access by simply adding or removing them from the relevant group(s). Plus, a platform like this makes accessing evidence during an audit a piece of cake — it’s all in one place in an easy-to-digest format for auditors and internal employees.

Learn more about JumpCloud’s SSO and Directory solutions from this access control case study.

Try it Free! JumpCloud’s IAM and True SSO Solution

Test out JumpCloud’s modern, simplified IAM solution with True SSO, and see if it’s right for your organization! Create a JumpCloud Free account to access the entirety of the platform for free, up to 10 users and 10 devices. Along with that, enjoy 24/7 in-app support — free for the first 10 days!


JumpCloud’s Identity and Access Management Solution With SSO

Brenna Lee

Brenna is a Content Writer at JumpCloud that loves learning about and immersing herself in new technologies. Outside of the [remote] office, she loves traveling and exploring the outdoors!

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