What is Azure SSO?
Updated on 12th Jan, 24 9.2K Views

The concept of Azure SSO will be covered in this blog, after which we’ll look at its advantages, reasons for being necessary, and practical uses.

Here are the topics we are going to discuss in this blog:

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What is SSO with Azure?

Azure Single Sign-On (SSO) is a cloud-based solution that allows users to log in to many apps and services using a single set of credentials. Users don’t need to keep track of several usernames and passwords due to this functionality, which allows them to access apps and services from any location, device, and network. As a result, Azure SSO simplifies the login process and lowers the chance of password-related security breaches.

A trust connection between Azure Active Directory SSO (Azure AD) and the application or service must be created to enable Azure SSO. Users can log in to the application or service using their Azure AD SSO credentials after this trust relationship has been created. To restrict access to its resources, the application or service can then ask Azure AD for particular user data, such as name, email address, or group memberships.

Numerous programs and services, including well-known ones like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and Dropbox, are supported with Azure SSO. Azure SSO also provides a simple integration process with other apps through pre-built connectors and an intuitive UI.

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Need for Azure SSO

Owing to the complexity of modern IT environments, Azure SSO is a necessity today. As businesses utilize an increasing number of applications and services, employees are required to remember several different sets of credentials to access a variety of resources. The likelihood of security breaches increases because attackers find weak or frequently used passwords to be simple targets, which provides for a bad user experience.

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What Protocol Does Azure SSO Use?

Azure Single Sign-On (SSO) uses the SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) protocol, which acts like a secure handshake between Azure and the applications. When you try to access an app through Azure SSO, Azure confirms your identity and provides a special token (SAML assertion) to the app, certifying your legitimacy. The app trusts this token and grants you access without requiring separate login details. This means you can access multiple apps easily without logging in repeatedly—a convenient and safe way to use different apps seamlessly.

Azure SSO Setup

Setting up Single Sign-On (SSO) in Azure is a simple process that allows users to access applications with a single set of credentials

  • Add Your App: Begin by purchasing and adding the application from Azure Marketplace that you would like integrated with Single Sign-on for SSO.
  • Enable SSO: Once you’ve selected the application, enable the Single Sign-On feature for it.
  • Configure Basic SAML Settings: Fill in the required configuration values in the Basic SAML Configuration section. These settings are essential for SSO to work correctly.
  • Check for Custom Claims: If the application requires any custom claims to be configured, handle that before proceeding with one-click SSO.
  • Install the Browser Extension: If the one-click SSO feature is available for your application, you may need to install the “My Apps Secure Sign-in” browser extension. This extension simplifies the Azure SSO configuration process.
  • Setup the Application: After adding the extension to your browser, select “Setup <Application Name>” and sign in as an administrator. The extension will automatically configure SSO for the application. Confirm the changes when prompted.
  • Perform Additional Steps (if needed): In some cases, Azure SSO configuration may require additional steps. If so, follow the prompts to complete them.
  • Save and Confirm: After the configuration is complete, select “OK” to save the changes. A confirmation window will indicate that SSO has been successfully configured.
  • Test the SSO: To ensure everything is working correctly, you can use the “Test” option to check the single sign-on functionality.

That’s it! Your application is now set up for Single Sign-On, making it easier for users to access it securely using their Azure credentials.

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Working of Azure SSO

Providing security and maintaining it isn’t easy, but Azure SSO ensures it. Here are the steps involved in the Azure SSO process:

  • User Authentication: When a user attempts to access an application integrated with Azure SSO, they are redirected to the Azure AD (Azure Active Directory) authentication portal. The user provides their login credentials (username and password) on this portal.
  • Authentication Verification: Azure AD verifies the user’s credentials against the user store (such as Azure AD itself, on-premises Active Directory, or other identity providers).
  • User Token Issuance: Once the user’s credentials are verified, Azure AD generates a security token (known as a SAML token or JWT token) that contains information about the user’s identity and authentication status.
  • Application Authorization: The application requesting access checks the received token against the trusted Azure AD to ensure its authenticity and validity. If the token is deemed valid, the user is granted access to the application.
  • Single Sign-On Experience: After the initial authentication, the user can seamlessly access other applications integrated with Azure SSO without the need to re-enter their credentials. Azure AD provides the necessary tokens for these applications, establishing trust and enabling SSO across multiple resources.
  • User Management: Azure SSO also allows for centralized user management. Administrators can provision and deprovision user accounts, assign and revoke application access, and manage user roles and permissions from the Azure AD portal.

By implementing Azure SSO, organizations can enhance security, simplify user access management, and provide a seamless and convenient experience for users accessing various applications within their environment.

Advantages of Azure SSO

Azure SSO benefits organizations with numerous advantages, including the following:

Advantages of Azure SSO
  • Enhanced Security: By utilizing Azure SSO, businesses can guarantee that only authenticated and authorized users will have access to their resources; this lowers the risk of security breaches brought on by hacked or weak passwords.
  • Improved User Experience: Users may access numerous apps and services using a single set of login credentials when using Azure SSO, which streamlines the login process and makes it easier for users to access resources.
  • Increased Productivity: Users benefit from faster access to apps and services from any location, device, or network through Azure SSO, which also boosts productivity.
  • Simplified IT Management: Azure SSO lessens the number of accounts and passwords that IT employees must maintain, which saves time, lowers the possibility of human mistakes, and boosts productivity.
  • Cost Savings: Azure SSO streamlines the login procedure, which lowers the need for IT workers to handle multiple accounts and saves money. Additionally, since Azure SSO is a cloud-based solution, businesses may avoid spending money on in-house equipment.

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Applications of Azure SSO

Azure SSO offers a broad range of applications to simplify the login experience across numerous applications and services. Here are some examples of how Azure SSO can be utilized:

Applications of Azure SSO
  • Microsoft Office 365: Azure SSO can provide users with a single sign-on experience while accessing Microsoft Office 365 applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This eliminates the need for users to memorize different login credentials for each application.
  • Salesforce: Integrating Azure SSO with Salesforce enables users to sign in to Salesforce using their Azure AD credentials; this offers a seamless login experience and eliminates the need for users to memorize separate login credentials.
  • Dropbox: Azure SSO can simplify the login process and eliminate the need for users to memorize separate login credentials while accessing Dropbox.
  • Custom Applications: Azure SSO can be integrated with custom applications to provide users with a single sign-on experience. This simplifies the login process and eliminates the need for users to remember separate login credentials for each application.

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Conclusion

To conclude, Azure SSO is expected to have a promising future as more organizations transition towards cloud-based services and seek ways to simplify their IT infrastructure. The expansion of the cloud computing market, along with the growing adoption of digital technologies, tends to point to the fact that Azure SSO will likely remain a relevant and valuable solution in the future.

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