What is Single Sign-On (SSO)?

February 6, 2019
Author: HE Salesforce Team

Are you having a hard time keeping track of all your passwords? If you are like me, then you likely have a notepad with all your passwords scribbled down only to find yourself in crisis when the notepad goes missing. Fortunately, Salesforce can reduce the number of passwords your users need to keep track of by implementing single sign-on (SSO for short) functionality. With SSO enabled, a user just has to enter their credentials in one system, and is then given access to other, unrelated systems. 

Single sign-on is actually very common. You likely already use SS0 in other parts of your life. For example, if you have ever gone to a website and opted to use the “Log in with Google” or “Log in with LinkedIn” option, you were using single sign-on. The site you accessed got information from either Google or LinkedIn about you (after asking for your permission to do so) and then used that information to give you access to its resources. 

Salesforce supports multiple SSO options, including Office 365, GSuite and several popular social media providers. And best of all, most SSO options are already included in your license cost. 

Benefits of SSO 

So why should you, as an organization, consider setting up SSO for your Salesforce users? Below are some benefits companies gain from implementing SSO: 

  • * Increased user adoption – users are more likely to log into systems such as Salesforce if they don’t have to deal with the hassle of remembering yet another password. 
  • Time savings – using SSO allows users to seamlessly log into multiple apps without having to stop and type in their credentials. Links to external applications can be embedded directly in Salesforce’s app launcher, or a link to Salesforce can be embedded in an online portal from your other identity provider, such as Office 365.
  • Increased security – when users are required to authenticate through a single authentication source, you can more easily enforce password policies such as expiration and password strength. 
  • Reduced administrative costs—With SSO, users memorize a single password to access network resources and external apps and Salesforce. When accessing Salesforce from inside the corporate network, users log in seamlessly and aren’t prompted for a username or password. When accessing Salesforce from outside the corporate network, the users’ corporate network login works to log them in. With fewer passwords to manage, system admins receive fewer requests to reset forgotten passwords. 

Getting Started To learn more about SSO, start with Salesforce’s SSO online help guide to determine which SSO option is best for you. If you use Office 365 or GSuite already, setting up Salesforce to accept these credentials can be done in under an hour. See the SSO Implementation Guide for step-by-step instructions on how to set up SSO with common identity providers, or if you want to use Salesforce as the identity provider. If you use Active Directory for user management, there is a paid add-on option called Identity Connect which provides for automatic user provisioning and de-provisioning using Active Directory as the authoritative source of truth. 

As always, HigherEchelon is here to help if you need additional assistance with setting up Single Sign-On or other Salesforce security features. Contact us to learn more