Cybersecurity Reference > Glossary
Single Sign-on (SSO)
Single Sign-On, or SSO, refers to a user experience in which users who successfully authenticate their identities once are then able to use a variety of applications and resources without having to authenticate again for each of them.
SSO has become more important in recent years as the number of systems requiring login over the course of day-to-day work has rapidly increased for most users.
In work environments without SSO capability, employees spend a growing amount of time embroiled in extended authentication flows and are faced with what has become an insurmountable list of credentials to remember. In that sense, SSO workflows are similar to, but likely both more secure and lower in friction than, password manager applications.
SSO works by enabling applications and systems to trust dedicated authentication servers to verify user identities and to provide authentication tokens confirming that this has occurred. Once the user has authenticated to such a server, any application or system that trusts it will be provided proof that the user has already authenticated and need not be prompted again. This eliminates the "serial sign-on" workday experience that increasingly vexes today's organizations and their employees.