Organizations that seek out opportunities to improve the efficiency of their network should consider using SAML authentication to implement a Single Sign-On (SSO) policy. First and foremost, SAML authentication is a protocol that is used by directories, such as G-Suite or Azure, to confirm or deny the users’ status in the directory and then send confirmed attributes to applications. A simple analogy to understand it would be to think of the relationship of LDAP to Active Directory. SAML accomplishes the same goals, but for Modern Cloud Identity Providers. Using SAML and instituting an SSO policy will greatly improve the efficiency of your network and the overall user experience.
There are many benefits that an SSO policy offers that may not be considered at first glance. Initially, SSO will greatly improve the network user experience. Instead of having to memorize several different passwords to access different applications, the initial authentication is recognized across all connected network applications. On the user side, it’s less passwords to remember and a more efficient network experience. For the network administrators, it simplifies the network setup because there are far fewer databases to manage. Without an SSO policy, each application would need a directory to confirm the identity users and would create significantly more work in the setup and management processes. Finally, the last perk to consider is the improvement in network safety, particularly against phishing attacks. If network users are properly educated about their network, they’ll know that any attempts to elicit credentials from them outside the initial sign-on is a phishing attack. No network application will request credentials because the SSO policy would have already confirmed their identity.
Of course, in order to experience these benefits, SAML must be properly configured for Wi-Fi authentication. In the following setup example, we’ll demonstrate the process using Google as our IDP and the JoinNow app from SecureW2 as our Wi-Fi onboarding software. Once the user enrolls via the JoinNow app, it requests information from the IDP to confirm the user’s identity. After a positive inquiry, a SAML token is translated into secure WPA2-Enterprise Wi-Fi access for the user. For any application to utilize this SAML token to allow secure access, there must be mutual trust created between the application and the IDP. This is accomplished by exchanging metadata between the application and the IDP. Once completed, the SSO policy will be in full effect and network users will be able to efficiently navigate the network.
When it comes to the user experience, network users value convenience and efficiency above all other factors. An SSO policy powered by SAML authentication allows for streamlined access to network applications and limits the number of passwords per user. It also promotes many added security benefits, protecting against phishing and limiting the opportunities for a credential theft attack. And for the network administrators configuring it, the use of a configuration guide makes the process straightforward and easy to complete. The network as a whole benefits from the security and efficiency benefits of using SAML authentication to implement an SSO policy.