Workplace training

8 minute read

The Benefits of an LMS With SSO (Single Sign-On)

Sara Meij

Sara Meij

Do you remember all your different passwords for the different tools and software programs you use at work? We’ll wager that you probably don’t, and neither do your employees. Hopefully, you use a password manager to make life a little easier, or even better, your organization uses Single Sign-On (SSO) to increase efficiency, productivity, and security while reducing workload.

But what about your external learning management systems? Well, if the LMS you’re using offers SSO, you can use your organization’s Single Sign-On for that too. How’s that for a bit of extra elearning security! Before we get into what the benefits are of having LMS Single Sign-On, let’s first dive into what SSO is. 

What is SSO and how does it work?

Single Sign-On (SSO) is an authentication method that makes it easier for a user to sign on to different applications and software systems with just one set of credentials. No need to remember ten different passwords - SSO means you’ll only have to remember one. How good, right? And that’s not all - it also reduces security risk and, inevitably, the load on your IT team (if you have one).

Single sign-on creates a more seamless experience and can help to increase learner participation.

If you extend these security benefits to your training and enable SSO for your learning management systems (LMS), it creates a more seamless learner experience and can increase employee performance. All sounds great, right? So how does SSO actually work?

GoSkills SSO screen

There are many different providers of SSO services, and they don’t store user identities. Most SSO services check user credentials against a separate identity management service to make sure it’s legit. When a user signs into an SSO service, an authentication token is created automatically that verifies the user for all subsequent sign-ins until that access is revoked. An authentication token is like a digital ID card for the user, stored either in the user’s browser or on the server of the SSO service.

SSO is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing user access. For it to work properly, you need to combine it with access control, permission control, activity logs, and other ways of tracking and controlling user behavior within your organization’s systems. Why? Because while SSO can take a lot of guesswork out of your security - if the system doesn’t know who a user is, it can’t do its job properly. Let’s keep that in mind as we get into the benefits of SSO in an LMS. 

Benefits of a learning management system with SSO

Using SSO in an LMS has many benefits. It can increase efficiency, employee productivity, and security while reducing your IT team’s workload.

1. Security

Single Sign-On solves the problem of having to remember multiple passwords, which in turn reduces the risk of hacks and security breaches because users only sign in once a day. The SSO providers your LMS integrates with, such as OpenID connect or Okta SSO in the GoSkills LMS, are specialized in that one area and provide advanced data security measures. In terms of on and offboarding staff, having SSO enabled means you can easily turn credentials on, or remove them from the system altogether.  

2. Speed and accessibility 

Time is money, right? With SSO, your employees only have to remember one set of credentials, so they don’t waste any time recovering login info. Continuous professional development training should be an integral part of your organization, and SSO makes an external LMS seem part of your organizational suite of software.

3. Employee productivity

Implementing single sign-on for your LMS also creates a better learner experience and removes any friction to spending time learning new skills. Last but not least, your IT team will thank you for not having to deal with password resets on a daily basis. Win-win! 

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Different types of SSO 

Let’s take GoSkills as an example of how SSO works in an LMS. When you’re on the login page, SSO will automatically offer you a few different options to login. OpenID Connect (OAuth2) is enabled by default, which integrates with Google, Microsoft, SAML 2.0 and Okta SSO. Using Google as an example, it works like this: if you sign into GoSkills through Google, Google will automatically send your name and email to OpenID Connect, which uses that information to authenticate and log you into GoSkills. 

Tips to help you find an LMS with SSO

Some LMSs, like GoSkills, know the importance of SSO and make it clear on their website that they offer it. But there are some other ways to help you find an LMS with SSO if it’s not clear whether it’s offered at the outset.

  • Check the LMS data safety protocols

Logging into an LMS is usually a two-step process. First up is authentication, which verifies that the learner has the right credentials to access the LMS. The second step is authorization, which depends on the level of access the learner has. For example in the GoSkills LMS, an admin has access to everything on the platform for the organization; all the courses (whether created by them or someone else), all the learner analytics, the access of others on the platform and so forth. One level down, a creator can create courses and has access to all the analytics about those courses. If you’re a learner, you see a different version of the platform that allows you to set daily study goals, track your time spent learning and more.

  • Test the SSO features

Many LMS platforms offer free trials - so make use of them! Explore different platforms and test the features that are important to you. Do you know what encryption protocols the LMS uses? What is the customer support team like, in case you run into any problems? How easy is it to set up new user accounts and change passwords? In the GoSkills LMS, for instance, you can add and change users and their settings with one click.

  • Read the reviews

When you buy a new car or item for your home, you check out the product’s reviews, right? Don’t forget this step when you’re in the market for a new LMS. Reading the reviews can give you a really solid understanding and birds-eye view of a platform and what its users' opinion of it is. Perhaps someone mentions SSO in a review - great, that’ll give you good insight. 

GoSkills feature ratings on TrustRadius
GoSkills feature ratings on TrustRadius

You might also be able to find out if customers think the LMS is easy to use, compatible with integrations and if there have been any security breaches. GoSkills, for instance, is trusted by more than 8000 organizations worldwide, including Ubisoft, LaZBoy, Continental, and JCDecaux and we have a 4.8 star rating on G2.GoSkills awards and badges

Wrapping it up

So there you have it – if you want to make life a little easier for yourself and your employees while increasing efficiency, productivity, and improving security, you should go for an LMS that has SSO. It will create a more secure environment for your organization, as well as reduce your IT team’s workload. What’s not to love? 

Looking to have a seamless experience logging into your LMS with one set of credentials? GoSkills offers safe, secure, and best-practice SSO services to make life a little easier, allowing you to focus on what’s important: creating top-notch, bite-sized courses for your learners. Get started now.

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Sara Meij

Sara Meij

Sara is a digital communications expert and former journalist with a passion for writing. In her spare time she loves Latin dancing and getting outdoors to run, hike or mountain bike.