It’s an unfortunate reality that security and user experience are often competing priorities. Or, put another way, what makes our data safer usually has the unwelcome side-effect of adding complexity and overhead.
However there are rare and welcome occasions in which these two interests align and the end result is a clear win all the way around. Offering support for SAML SSO has emerged as one such example where Dropbox Sign’s Enterprise customers can now improve security and ease-of-use for their team members.
But let’s take a step back for the uninitiated – what exactly is SAML SSO and why is it so powerful?
What is SAML SSO?
SAML stands for Security Assertion Markup Language. The best way to describe it is this: With traditional on-premise software, all applications are installed, managed, and run directly on your local machine, sometimes with a networked server. This means if you’re logged in to your computer, you can generally just click an application’s icon to open and run it without a second thought.
However in the cloud-based software model, the user has to authenticate with a username and password in a web browser for each and every service they intend to use. This can result in multiple sets of login credentials, and multiple logins per day. Even worse is the burden of administration placed on the IT department, which acts as the software gatekeeper to ensure all the different credentials are properly managed.
Why is SAML SSO Important?
For all the reasons above and more, the open standard of SAML was created to provide an Enterprise-grade, single sign-on solution. Once a set of universal credentials are used to authenticate, a single click is all it takes to be whisked away to any application provider’s website, instantly logged in, and placed in a state ready to be productive.
SAML provides the convenience of on-premise software with all the powers and benefits of the cloud. And for IT staff, it saves untold hours performing repetitive application-user management and provisioning tasks, and allow them to be more secure, reliable, and consistent with their company’s’ software and data access policies.
Using SAML SSO at Your Company
So what if you want to start taking advantage of SAML today for your organization? The first step would be to ensure you have some kind of centralized user repository and an IDP which is publicly accessible. Some great ones we can recommend are Okta and JumpCloud. Then, simply sign up for a Dropbox Sign enterprise account and follow the directions located here on our support article.
And if you’re a current SSO Dropbox Sign user or considering becoming one in the future, drop us a line! We love learning and talking about new use cases for streamlining the day-to-day operational needs of our end users and associated IT support staff.
Stay Tuned for Future Security Enhancements at Dropbox Sign
Finally, keep an eye out in the near future for more great improvements to our authentication and user management systems such as SCIM and ADFS.
It’s all part of our plan to work hard everyday making our Enterprise users awesome!