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SSO  vs.  Password Manager

Understanding the differences between identity and access management solutions. Find the security solution for your business and team.

Benefit of identity and access management solutions

Whether a password management solution, privileged access management (PAM) tool, or single sign-on (SSO) application, identity and access management (IAM) solutions are designed to help companies and their employees securely protect and share information to provide an exceptional user experience while increasing cybersecurity. 

Whether working remotely or in the office, all of us have multiple, complex passwords to remember. Using the same password for every account puts sensitive information at risk of being compromised as cybercriminals can gain access to multiple accounts with just one password. But, trying to keep track of many unique, safe passwords is inconvenient and can harm productivity. This dichotomy has led to growth in password manager solutions. 

Single sign-on solutions have also increased in popularity. It can be confusing to understand the differences between password management and single sign-on, especially since they solve similar access and security problems. However, there are key differences that should be noted and may impact how you decide to implement these solutions at your organization.

What makes SSO different than password management?

Password management to secure credentials

Password managers  provide secure, cloud-based vaults to store passwords, addresses, payment cards, and more. With a password manager, your credentials are all stored in one place behind one master password to unlock the vault. Password managers  automatically enter your login credentials so you don't have to remember your passwords for various websites and apps. When you don't have to remember each credential, it's easier to create  complex, secure passwords.

SSO for trust

Single sign-on  solutions  provide employees seamless access to key applications through trust. Single sign-on uses a single domain to undertake the authentication process and oversee  access control. These solutions use federation protocols that include SAML and can be integrated with  multi-factor authentication  (MFA) tools, other  identity providers, VPNS, firewalls, and more.  With single sign-on, your organization has visibility into which users have access to each application and can simply authorize or remove user access to an application when required.

Why your organization needs both

Password management  and  single sign-on  solutions  work best when used together. When only using single sign-on, many websites or applications may not be protected because they are not compatible with SAML or LDAP protocols or IT may not even know they exist. Password management fills the gaps left by single sign-on solutions to provide comprehensive access and security.

How SSO and Password Manager solutions can work together

Password management  and  SSO  complement one another.

SSO  enables the  end-user  to access many applications with a single set of credentials. Protocols, such as  SAML  or  LDAP, securely store credentials and verify users. Therefore,  SSO  reduces the number of passwords, improves employee productivity through reduced logins and password resets, and bolsters organizational security. 

A password manager solution can fill the gaps left by  SSO  in terms of not addressing certain password and  data breach  issues. If an application or website is not compatible with SAML or LDAP, password management provides a method securely store the credential. Password management also provides a method to securely share a credential to an account that needs to be accesses by multiple team members. This fills potential security gaps left by unsecured credentials.

LastPass: Protection at every access point

Simplify the onboarding  user experience and ensure complete control over every password as part of your company's  password policy.

  • If your organization does not utilize an  SSO  service provider,  LastPass  offers a robust,  single sign-on  that integrates with its enterprise  password manager, so your team can gain access  to what they need quickly without causing security risks. Leverage a catalog of more than 1,200 pre-integrated  mobile  apps  and custom integrations for seamless access without passwords.
  • If your organization already utilizes an  SSO  service provider,  LastPass  offers integrations with Microsoft  ADFS, Azure, OneLogin, and Okta, to simplify the onboarding experience and eliminate the  Master Password  while delivering enhanced  functionality.
  • For companies without a  PAM  solution,  LastPass can assist your IT help desk with managing privileged credentials through shared folders, role-based permissions, multiple levels of admin access, and  strong password  rotation. 



*Monthly pricing is billed annually.