Web Application Single Sign-On Comparison

Written by Zach DeMeyer on August 30, 2019

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The cloud has revolutionized the way we do work, allowing services like applications to be offered remotely and with efficiency. As more applications are being sourced from the cloud, IT admins need a web application single sign-on comparison.

Underlying Cause(s)

First off, why compare web application single sign-on (SSO) solutions? Well, the main reason is there are many SSO solutions on the market today. The sector they fall under, Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS), is exploding at the moment, with several contenders being highly valued by shareholders and investors.

The influx of SSO solutions into the identity management space makes a lot of sense. SSO solutions came about in the market to fill a major need for IT admins. The main tool in their identity management toolbelt, the identity provider (for example, Microsoft® Active Directory®) was inadequate in the face of the rise of cloud applications. Active Directory (AD), while effective at managing users and resources in an on-prem, Windows®-centric environment, struggles to connect to web applications. 

So, IT admins needed a solution to connect their on-prem Active Directory identities to the various web applications that their users demanded. With the introduction of the SAML protocol, which connects on-prem identity providers to web applications, vendors found a way to fill the hole managing applications in Active Directory. 

Comparing Web-App SSO Solutions

At their core, many web app SSO solutions are very similar. However, there are some key differentiators involved in deciding which is best. These include the breadth of their SAML connectors/integration base, the ability to add multi-factor authentication (MFA) to app connections, and even additional extensions beyond plain SSO like external customer identity solutions.

Despite these features, there’s still an underlying problem with these solutions. What none of these providers offer, however, is True Single Sign-On™. See, IT admins also need to connect their users to all of their various IT resources (systems, networks, infrastructure, email, file servers, etc.) beyond simply their access to applications. Unfortunately, web application SSO solutions relied on AD to do this part of the work and the SSO platforms focused on authenticating into web apps.

SSO solutions started out as an adjunct to the IdP and have started to become a much more critical part for the identity provider infrastructure. But, as the IT landscape changes, they are yet another solution required to manage cloud/non-Windows solutions (applications, networks, infrastructure) with Active Directory.

IT admins still need to employ other solutions, like identity bridges, governance tools, multi-factor authentication platforms, and more on top of Active Directory. This makes the moniker “single sign-on” a bit nonsensical? With all of these add-ons on top of AD in the identity management stack, there’s quite a few sign-ons to worry about. 

True Single Sign-On

Which brings us back to True Single Sign-On. As a concept, True SSO means using a single set of credentials to access virtually all IT resources. Using AD and add-ons simply cannot achieve such a level of convenience and, ultimately, security.

Thankfully, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® provides True SSO where others can’t. JumpCloud is the first cloud directory service, enabling IT admins to connect their users to virtually all IT resources with a single set of credentials from a single web admin portal.

With JumpCloud, admins can comprehensively control their IT stack from top to bottom, including the ability to secure their endpoints using configurable password complexity, MFA, as well as full disk encryption (FDE). Admins can use JumpCloud to manage RADIUS, LDAP, Samba file servers, and even SSH keys, all under a single set of credentials. 

Try True Single Sign-On Free

Instead of comparing web application SSO solutions alone, try approaching the issue holistically and use a comprehensive identity management solution in JumpCloud instead. You can see how True SSO fits your organization today, absolutely free. A JumpCloud account provides you with ten complimentary users to explore the Directory-as-a-Service product for as long as you need to, no credit card required.

If you would like to learn more about JumpCloud and True SSO, contact us. We’d be happy to assist you.

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