The answer to the question of what SSO means has a technical answer and a context question. You will find out the meaning of this important IT security term—SSO (also known as single sign-on)—and what it means for remote education.
What Does SSO Mean: A Short, Technical Definition
The specific technical details involved in single sign-on software vary depending on the systems your school has in place. That said, the following simplified definition will help you understand the concept.
With a single sign-on (SSO) solution, your user only has to enter their login details once to use multiple applications. Behind the scenes, the single sign-on system does the hard work of checking which systems the user can access. Using a single-sign-on system, users only have to remember one password instead of keeping a larger notebook of passwords.
What Does SSO Mean For Remote Education?
To understand what SSO means for the remote education context, let’s take a step back to understand the overall remote education environment. A teacher comes to their computer in the morning with a full schedule of virtual classes to teach. In addition, the teacher has to access administrative systems to enter grades. Finally, the same teacher may use video conferencing to discuss teaching challenges with colleagues. Each of these activities will involve different applications. For the teacher to be productive, they will need to carry out all of these activities every day.
By making a single sign-on software solution available to teachers, their teaching day becomes much easier. Put yourself in the shoes of a busy teacher. They may have their first class to teach from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Immediately afterward, they have a 30-minute virtual meeting to enter grades. If they have to enter different login credentials each time they switch tasks, they will lose productivity. By using single sign-on software, they only have to login once, and they will have fewer technical roadblocks in their way.
There are also benefits for single sign-on for students. Think of the case of students who struggle with digital distractions and addictions. According to a 2018 research study conducted by the Pew Research Center: “31% of teens say they lose focus in class because they are checking their cell phone—though just 8% say this often happens to them, and 38% say it never does.” This research study tells us that remote education has to compete against cellphones. Therefore, remote education technologists must work hard to make the online education experience seamless. If students have to memorize ten different passwords to download homework, interact with other students, and learn, there is a greater chance for distraction.
From Idea To Reality: Bringing Single Sign-On Software To Your School
Now that you know the value of single sign-on software for your school, what’s next? You need a practical plan to bring this technology to life. Use the following process to improve the remote education experience with single sign-on software.
1. Review your school’s remote education goals and IT security
Walking into an administrator’s office to demand funding for a single sign-on software solution is unlikely to work. Instead, you need to do your homework. Find out the organization’s current priorities for remote education and how security safeguards can support those goals.
Consider the remote education situation in New York City schools as an example. According to CNN:
“Many students, particularly students of color, do not have access to the technology needed for remote learning or do not know how to use the online learning platform. [A teacher] was assigned about 25 students for his virtual class—but he has only taught about half or less than half so far.”
If your school is having similar difficulties with remote education, it is essential to know that you are not alone. Implementing large scale remote education is challenging! It is also an unprecedented opportunity for IT professionals to contribute to education. By discovering the problems educators and students face, you can design an effective plan to implement new technologies like a single sign-on software solution.
2. Evaluate the complexity of your school’s login processes
The next step in the project planning process is to evaluate the current state of your login process. If students only have to work with two passwords to access educational systems, implementing single sign-on software may not help that much. Before you draw that conclusion, remember to think broadly. Implementing remote education probably required that your school implement a new set of applications for students and teachers. Make sure you evaluate all of those systems.
3. Build a shortlist of single sign-on software solutions
If you have determined that implementing a single sign-on software platform is a good fit, it is time to build a shortlist of solutions. Of course, we recommend that you consider Avatier Single Sign-On and consider the special pricing offered as well. To further build out your shortlist, check the reviews for other single sign-on products on Capterra. Seek out free trials of the software and view software demos to better understand the features of the various products on your shortlist.
4. Make a recommendation for a software solution in your single sign-on software solution business case
By this point, you will have determined your school’s needs and examined different software options. Your next step is to present a business case. If you are unsure how to write a business case, check out our article: Get Your SSO Software Project Funded With a Business Case. Once you receive funding, appoint a project manager and team to lead the implementation.
Want Another Way To More Remote Education Security Easy?
Installing a single sign-on (SSO) software platform will help make life easier for your school. Once you have it in place, you might be asking yourself what else you can do to make remote education secure. We suggest making it easier for users to get new passwords by installing specialized IT security chatbot. A chatbot can issue new passwords whenever they are needed, even on the weekend.