Beauty of Single Sign on with Office 365

Favad Qaisar 11 July 2012 0




With Office 365 single sign-on which is also called identity federation, your users can access services in Microsoft Office 365 for enterprises with their existing Active Directory corporate credentials (user name and password). The single sign on setup requires ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) version 2.0

A detailed discussion about the advantages of Single sign on would be appropriate at this stage. First as it is apparent from its name, the most important advantage is that individuals can sign in using the credentials that their company has provided to them and they don’t have to go through the hassle of remembering a whole bunch of usernames and passwords when our mind is already preloaded with a lot of them.  From the point of view of the administration, they also don’t have to put in any extra effort to manage password policies, workstation restrictions, lock-out controls, and to perform other account policy control related tasks which otherwise would have need a web based control system if it wasn’t for Office 365’s single sign on.

The administrator can also restrict access to Office 365 over the cloud or the servers or both and vice versa so all sorts of access configurations are possible which shows that Microsoft is not trying to impose this on its customers. The locus of control lies in the hands of the users (in our case, the system administrators)

If anyone of us has ever had the chance to read anything on the topic of human computer interaction, he/she would be well familiar of the importance of the concept of “reduction of load on human memory”. This concept is well catered with the single sign on feature as previously described since there are lesser passwords to remember.

The advantages of reducing load on short term memory are twin folded in this case since this not only reduces cognitive load but also reduces the amount of customer support needed since there would be lesser calls made by those who had forgotten their account passwords. Considering the enhanced security that single sign on provides is quite understandable since user identities and passwords reside on the on-premise servers.

It also supports strong authentication as one can use strong authentication (also called two-factor authentication) with Office 365. As it is obvious this feature is also only available to you once you have enabled the single sign on. Last but not the least you can also enhance the end user experience further by creating and deploying smart links that can help speed up user sign-in requests by reducing the number of redirects necessary for authentication.

m administrators) If anyone of us has ever had the chance to read anything on the topic of human computer interaction, he/she would be well familiar of the importance of the concept of “reduction of load on human memory”. This concept is well catered with the single sign on feature as previously described since there are lesser passwords to remember. The advantages of reducing load on short term memory are twin folded in this case since this not only reduces cognitive load but also reduces the amount of customer support needed since there would be lesser calls made by those who had forgotten their account passwords.

Considering the enhanced security that single sign on provides is quite understandable since user identities and passwords reside on the on-premise servers. It also supports strong authentication as one can use strong authentication (also called two-factor authentication) with Office 365. As it is obvious this feature is also only available to you once you have enabled the single sign on. Last but not the least you can also enhance the end user experience further by creating and deploying smart links that can help speed up user sign-in requests by reducing the number of redirects necessary for authentication.




Favad Qaisar (51 Posts)

I am a Unified Communications Engineer. Over the last 3 years, I have been working dedicatedly on OCS/LYNC and Exchange 2007/2010. I was responsible for getting my Company Microsoft’s Unified Communication Voice Certified Partner status. Occasionally, I like to share my experiences on the latest developments in the Unified Communications industry.

Leave A Response »