A single sign-on to multiple utilities was meant to provide access to multiple resources through one set of credentials. Soon, reality set in. People realised that a single sign-on was not only difficult to set up, but also risky if not paired with strong authentication mechanisms. For end-users, a single sign-on was meant for convenience, but it was never really a convenient proposition.

Taking the cue, many companies have now pulled up their socks and have brought back the glory days of single-sign on, without the hassles.

Companies nowadays have embedded strict security authentication protocols and measures in their single sign-on systems and delivered quality service to individuals and enterprises globally. Essentially, single login services are a ‘hosted service’, which customers can use for their own systems without installing any additional hardware or software on-site or on their machine.

Although such services can work with any firewall-supported browser, they have developed their way into applications such as personal and business email accounts, Google Apps, MS Outlook, Picasa, LinkedIn, etc. What’s more, the service is not limited to just ‘business’ apps. Today, the line between what is meant for work and what is for personal use has blurred. After all, Facebook is not always about fun. It offers much more.

How single login processes work is by downloading a secured application to your computer or your Internet-connected device the first time you go to use the service. Next the application asks you a series of security questions to verify your identity, and then sends an authentication code to your mobile phone or some other device. You also have the option of going through these identity-verification steps for one-time use of a public PC, like at an Internet cafe or hotel business centre. The system will confirm your identity, but won’t install the application on the computer.

Having a single login credential for your desktop, personal and business email accounts, banking accounts, e-commerce accounts, etc., is safe, given the right security settings and application. It is also convenient, taking into account the massive amount of time it would ultimately save.