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How Does Single Sign-On Support SaaS Discovery?

single sign on

Be honest: Do you use the same (or a very similar) password across the majority of websites you visit? 53% of people surveyed admit to it, with 44% stating they used those personal passwords at work too. This places enormous risk on companies, as it only takes one unsecured website for the dominos to fall. Businesses rely on single sign-on (SSO) to mitigate the risk and bolster enterprise security. 

In addition to enhanced security, SSO plays a key role in SaaS discovery. And when, on average, companies waste $17 million a year on unused SaaS licenses, this value cannot be overstated. Read on to learn more about the benefits of SSO, especially when paired with a SaaS Management platform

What is Single Sign On?

Single sign-on, a user authentication tool, allows your employees to access multiple applications and services with a single set of credentials. It works by creating and storing an authentication token, which serves as the password, in the user’s browser or SSO provider’s server. Built-in security identifies and blocks any malicious login attempts. 

SSO Benefits

Using SSO offers numerous benefits for the company, user, and IT professionals, including:

  • Provides SaaS discovery and visibility (more on this below)
  • Enhances security and compliance: Equips IT managers with centralized control over who has access to their systems and tools, while countering unsafe password practices and lowering the risk of data breaches. SSO also helps with HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. 
  • Saves time: Decreases time spent logging into tools and sending password reset requests. SSO also allows IT to configure access based on an employee’s role or department, and expedites onboarding and offboarding by eliminating the need to grant or revoke access to applications individually. 
  • Increases employee satisfaction: Eliminates password fatigue and empowers employees with quick access to the applications they need to perform job duties.

Why SaaS Discovery Matters

The use of SaaS skyrocketed during pandemic lockdowns. According to a Bessemer Venture Partners 2021 State of the Cloud Report, the total cloud market cap more than doubled between February 2019 and February 2021. And SaaS adoption and use is here to stay. Gartner predicts SaaS spend to exceed $195 billion in 2023

With so much budget tied up in the cloud, it proves crucial for companies to know their complete SaaS inventory and understand accurate usage for each license. While IT used to manage the entire technology portfolio for businesses, our 2023 SaaS Management Index shows a shift, with IT now managing only 31% of an organization’s SaaS. 

To gain visibility into applications purchased, total SaaS spend, license terms, and more, companies need SaaS discovery. Without full visibility, it proves impossible to optimize your tools and SaaS budget. 

Pair with a SaaS Management Software

Using single sign-on provides IT leaders with basic SaaS discovery: user name, device time, access time, and usage. But that’s not the whole story. With the swipe of a card, corporate employees often purchase SaaS that goes undetected by IT and lives outside of the SSO system. And this happens often. According to Zylo research, the average organization sees eight new SaaS applications enter its environment every 30 days.

When SaaS lurks outside of IT’s purview, we call it shadow IT, and shadow IT proves costly for a number of reasons:

  • In the average company, 40% of SaaS licenses go unused, Zylo research says.
  • Zylo customer data shows companies overpay for SaaS licenses by about 15%.
  • Companies are unprepared for auto-renews of undetected SaaS.
  • Employee SaaS acquisition leads to duplicate purchases.

Pairing SSO with SaaS Management software allows companies to reign in shadow IT, ensure all SaaS integrates into SSO, and optimize SaaS spend. SaaS Management provides additional metrics beyond basic discovery, like contract and financial data, user sentiment, and deep utilization insights to optimize SaaS usage and spend.

Zylo + SSO Integrations

Zylo pairs with most single sign-on platforms, including industry leader Okta. Together, Zylo and Okta help achieve the following:

  • Discover SaaS applications being used enterprise-wide, and compare application spend against utilization for better decision-making.
  • Maximize the value of licenses by easily finding underutilized application licenses to redeploy or eliminate. 
  • Leverage application utilization insights across teams to determine optimization opportunities.
  • Use Zylo to identify shadow IT that lurks outside the SSO, then minimize risk by folding them into Okta’s SSO and MFA security.

Okta keeps your employees productive and data safe. Layering Zylo with it extends that value by providing detailed utilization and spend analysis. Okta data shows 75% of licenses provisioned through their SSO as inactive or having very little usage, making this added value a significant cost-saving opportunity. The best part: This seamless integration requires no heavy lifting for the user.

Ready to uncover an accurate view of all SaaS applications across your organization? Learn more about Zylo’s robust Discovery Engine.