Stanley Curtis, CTO and Senior Vice President, Software Engineering, Pilgrim Quality Solutions
Identity and Access Management (IAM) has become a necessary part of enterprise IT and the security infrastructure of an organization. While mostly driven by security concerns, IAM also makes life simpler for the end user of enterprise applications. This is particularly true in today’s world of tight integration between disparate enterprise software and the continuing increase in the adoption of ‘Best of Breed’ SaaS applications.
Federated SSO in Quality and Compliance Management Productivity
Federated single sign-on (SSO) is the preferred method of IAM when using applications between trusted businesses or entities. Similar to SSO within an enterprise, it allows a user to authenticate with one set of credentials to access multiple applications, and has the added advantage that the applications do not have to reside within the single enterprise.
From a security perspective, requiring a user to manage fewer credentials is preferred. From an ‘ease of use’ perspective, users are more productive when they can seamlessly move between enterprise applications without having to remember multiple authentication credentials. Additionally, it simplifies the authentication step every time users move between their quality management systems (QMS), such as SmartSolve®, and other enterprise systems where quality data resides or originates—including other systems which exchange data with a QMS such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems.
This all sounds good, and the adoption of Federated SSO seems like an easy decision for any IT organization. Well, not so fast. While there are Federated SSO ‘standards’ in place, such as WS-Fed and SAML 2.0, the implementation of these ‘standards’ can have many options which makes them not so standard across systems or enterprises.
The cost of implementation and maintenance of Federated SSO can be quite high and time consuming. Within an organization, there are multiple applications in place which may require different standards of Federated SSO to authenticate a user across domains. Therefore each enterprise software vendor and the implementing IT organization will likely choose a different path in the architectural design of their respective IAM system for various applications.
When buying any enterprise or best-of-breed software, an IT organization should have an in-depth technical conversation with the software vendor to understand what steps are required in order to implement Federated SSO.
The Value of Partnering with a Cloud Identity and Access Management Provider
A best-practice alternative to managing your IAM internally is to use one of the many cloud Identity and Access Management providers. They provide much needed stability in the standardization of Federated SSO. An IT organization using a cloud-based IAM provider can simplify its internal management of IAM and have the option to seamlessly authenticate to thousands of applications without having to implement a new IAM structure for each one. Additionally, if an IT organization is interested in implementing multi-factor authentication, some cloud IAM providers make this relatively easy.
When it comes to automating quality management processes, Pilgrim’s SmartSolve Management applications are Okta Verified on the Okta Application Network. Gartner has named Okta as a leader in cloud-based Identity and Access Management for the past three years. In addition, SmartSolve, Pilgrim’s quality management software, is certified for both SAML 2.0 and WS-Fed protocols which are used by Federated Single Sign-on providers.
SmartSolve is a highly configurable enterprise quality management software platform for achieving compliance with industry regulations across global operations. A more in-depth discussion of Federated SSO can be found in previous posts on Pilgrim’s blog:
- Lessons Learned Integrating SAML SSO and WS-Federation for Federated Authentication
- Federated Single Sign-On: What you Need to Know
Learn More about SmartSolve
Our compliance-ready platform for Enterprise Quality Management is FedSSO enabled.