As SaaS portfolios grow, the cloud-based SSO offers a centralizing alternative.
By KEVIN NIKKHOO
It’s obvious the rise of SaaS (software-as-a-service) has changed the game. The benefits of subscribing to a cloud-based application service are already well-known and documented: cost-efficiencies, speed, hands-off maintenance, etc… It’s no longer an emerging practice and, for most IT managers, has become an inextricable component of any go-forward IT network strategy. What this means is now there are dozens of new sign-ons per user from a variety of endpoints (including mobile and tablet). And if we are talking enterprise-wide deployments, this is can be as challenging as herding cats.
And since it is highly likely, a SaaS portfolio will continue to grow, so will the challenges and the need to centralize authorization and control of all these new applications. Many organizations have considered single-sign on, but during recent needs for economic belt-tightening, see it more as a potential future expense.
I have seen estimates of upwards of $300,000 dollars (Montclair Advisors) to deploy and manage (just Year 1 alone) SSO on-premise, which is why I understand the reticence to actively move forward on this initiative. (Estimates amortized over 5 years put the figure at more than $2 million) However the cloud alternative can provide nearly a 75% savings. This makes deployment affordable for most modest-sized organizations looking to maximize the efficiencies of cloud-based applications. These figures include the software, set-up, infrastructure modifications, hardware purchase, service, maintenance, but also the ongoing administration of the solution.
There are those that realize the significant savings, instant scalability and accelerated time to value is enticing, but simply don’t trust security from the cloud. Most articles I come across regarding cloud-based applications revolve around the security debate. But these articles question the security of the applications themselves, not security-as-a-service. The issue persists just how secure is the cloud? Well, very secure if you have battened down the hatches on your own security initiatives, If you deploy a strong SSO program that not only creates a single authorized entry to these applications that also uses federated interoperability so you can expand protection beyond employee users to subsidiaries, trusted partners and other collaborative business partners.
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