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What is SSO and How Does It Work?

SSO stands for single sign on, a technology that allows users to access multiple applications or websites with one login credential. Instead of having to remember and enter different usernames and passwords for each service, users can simply use one identity provider (such as JumpCloud or Microsoft) to authenticate themselves and access the resources they need. SSO works by using protocols such as OAuth, OpenID Connect, or SAML to exchange tokens or assertions between the identity provider and the service provider, verifying the user’s identity and granting access.

Think of it as a passport or a driver’s license. When you travel to a foreign countr y or drive a car, you don’t need to show different documents for each place you visit or each activity you do. You just need one valid ID that proves who you are and what you are allowed to do. Similarly, when you use SSO, you don’t need to create and enter different login credentials for each online service you use. You just need one trusted identity provider that verifies who you are and what you are authorized to access. The identity provider acts like the issuer of your passport or driver’s license, while the online services act like the border control or the traffic police that check your ID and give you permission to enter wherever it is you’re going.

Why is SSO Important for Nonprofits?

Nonprofits have smaller budgets and often don’t have the in-house means to leverage built-in on-premises server-based solutions that larger enterprises may employ. Born in the cloud, nonprofits and small businesses often rely on various online-only platforms and tools to manage operations, fundraising, communication, and collaboration. These may include email, social media, cloud storage, CRM, accounting, and project management applications. Having to manage multiple accounts and passwords for each of these services can be a hassle, a security risk, and a productivity killer. Nonprofit organizations in particular are often more susceptible to security breaches, which have a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged constituents. SSO can help nonprofits overcome these challenges by offering the following benefits:

  • Enhanced security: SSO reduces the risk of password breaches, phishing, and identity theft, as users only have to remember and protect one strong password. It also allows for centralized control and monitoring of user access, making it easier to enforce security policies, revoke access, and detect anomalies.
  • Improved user experience: SSO simplifies and streamlines the login process, saving users time and frustration. Users do not have to remember or reset multiple passwords, or switch between different applications and websites. They can also enjoy a consistent and seamless experience across different devices and platforms.
  • Increased efficiency and productivity: SSO can sometimes eliminate the need for manual account creation and management, reducing administrative burden and human error. Perhaps more importantly, SSO enables faster and easier access to the resources and information that users need, boosting performance and collaboration.

How to Implement SSO for Your Nonprofit?

Implementing SSO for your nonprofit may seem daunting, but it does not have to be. There are many SSO solutions and providers available in the market, offering different features, pricing, and support. Some of the factors to consider when choosing an SSO solution are:

  • The compatibility and integration with your existing and future applications and websites
  • The security and reliability of the solution and the provider
  • The scalability and flexibility of the solution to accommodate your organization’s growth and changes
  • The ease of use and maintenance of the solution for both users and administrators
  • The cost and value of the solution for your budget and needs

Once you have selected an SSO solution that suits your organization, you will need to follow the steps and guidelines provided by the provider to set up and configure the SSO service. This may involve creating and registering an account, choosing an identity provider, adding and verifying your applications and websites, and testing and launching the SSO service. You will also need to educate and train your users and staff on how to use the SSO service and how to keep their login credentials secure.

What Next?

If you are looking for a way to improve your nonprofit’s online presence and performance, SSO may be the solution for you. Connect Cause has experience implementing and managing SSO and a variety of other cybersecurity solutions for our nonprofit partners. Please reach out today to learn more about how we can help improve your nonprofit’s security and efficiency.