The best single sign-on solution for Active Directory

The Best Single Sign-On Solution for Active Directory

Managing multiple user identities and passwords can be a hassle for employees and IT departments. Allowing password sprawl to spread to multiple corporate and cloud services can also pose a significant security risk for an organization.

That’s where single sign-on (SSO) comes in. SSO allows users to access multiple applications using just one set of login credentials. Organizations can mitigate many common security and productivity concerns by implementing an SSO solution within an existing Active Directory (AD) environment.

The best Active Directory SSO solutions will simplify identity and access management (IAM), integrate into existing environments, and allow granular control over login processes. To help choose the right option for your organization, we look at the features, limitations, and strengths of the top SSO solutions.

UserLock SSO

UserLock SSO integrates seamlessly with on-premise AD environments. This allows IT admins to use their existing AD identity platform while letting users access multiple services with a single set of credentials.

Implementing an SSO solution like UserLock’s helps prevent password sprawl and improves the day-to-day user experience. Organizations can then extend employee access to external software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud applications using their current user management and access policies.

While SSO brings many benefits, organizations should take steps to protect their system from unauthorized access. To reduce risk, UserLock offers the ability to combine the convenience of SSO with the protection of UserLock multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Technical Features of UserLock SSO

UserLock SSO brings many benefits to organizations with existing on-premise AD environments.

  1. Integration with current systems: UserLock SSO integrates seamlessly with AD, giving IT departments a straightforward way to add SSO functionality to their current authentication methods.
  2. A single identity provider: UserLock SSO gives users the ability to access both on-premise and cloud resources with their AD user credentials. This helps reduce the complexity of having multiple passwords and prevents end-user frustration.
  3. Simplified scaling and user management: UserLock SSO can scale with an organization, helping IT teams manage the configuration of employee roles and permissions through one central identity provider (AD).
  4. Improved system security: By creating single, centralized identities, admins can secure user accounts and privileges — granting access only to the resources each employee needs.
  5. Simple provisioning of new resources: With UserLock SSO, organizations can give employees secure access to new tools. Admins can configure access to cloud services through robust Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) connections.
  6. Combine with MFA and session management: While UserLock SSO streamlines the login process for users to access cloud resources, this access to multiple resources also brings potential SSO security considerations. Organizations can enhance their system security by implementing SSO in combination with MFA. With its granular controls and ease of use, UserLock MFA adds a critical layer of protection for users accessing corporate networks and cloud applications. IT admins also benefit from enhanced system visibility, granular MFA policies, and session management tools.
  7. Backups for key processes: UserLock SSO’s automatic certificate rollover protection and SSO disaster recovery help avoid downtime and limit any possible interruptions to service.

UserLock SSO is Right for You if…

UserLock SSO provides many benefits in the following use cases.

  • You use on-premise AD and SaaS applications: Many organizations manage employee access through an on-premise AD environment while also using external SaaS applications. This brings the potential for security concerns like password sprawl and shadow IT. Using UserLock SSO, organizations can provide their users with access to several popular SaaS applications using a single set of credentials. It’s also possible to configure other SaaS and cloud apps using the secure SAML protocol. UserLock MFA can provide additional security with two-factor authentication.
  • You use Microsoft 365 via AD: UserLock SSO can provide users with straightforward access to the Microsoft 365 suite using their AD credentials. IT admins can then use UserLock SSO to configure, view, and manage user access to Microsoft 365 from one central point.
  • You use Microsoft 365 via Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Domain Services: UserLock can provide secure access and user management for organizations using Azure AD Domain Services with the Microsoft 365 suite.

Popular SSO Solutions vs UserLock

How does UserLock compare to other Active Directory SSO solutions?

Duo by Cisco

Cisco’s Duo SSO is a cloud-based solution that gives users access to multiple applications using a single set of credentials. Duo SSO integrates with many common identity providers and authentication protocols, including Microsoft Active Directory, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), and SAML. Duo SSO can also be combined with Duo MFA for enhanced security.

IT admins can use Duo SSO to set granular access control policies. Those wishing to use Duo SSO with existing on-premise AD environments must install additional software, with a degree of manual configuration needed. Scheduled AD user synchronization only runs twice a day with Duo SSO, compared to every five minutes with UserLock.

Thales SafeNet Trusted Access SSO

Thales provides SafeNet Trusted Access as a cloud-based SaaS solution used for IAM. This solution incorporates several features, including SSO and MFA, while providing a view of the entire organization for administrators.

The Thales SSO solution allows users to log in to their accounts and applications through a centralized portal using a single identity. Administrators can configure access policies for each application and login attempt.

Organizations wishing to configure Thales SSO with an existing AD environment won’t have the granular control offered by other solutions, like UserLock. Integration into an AD environment is done manually by an admin, with Thales running user synchronization every 20 minutes.


Okta is a popular MFA and SSO provider. Their SSO solution supports various authentication protocols, such as SAML, OpenID Connect, and OAuth, and integrates with a wide range of common cloud-based applications.

On-premise environments are protected by the Okta cloud-based service. IT admins can use Okta in collaboration with tools like UserLock for on-premise and hybrid SSO solutions, combining MFA and SSO resources without connecting to a cloud provider.

JumpCloud SSO

JumpCloud SSO is a cloud-based identity and access management solution that enables users to access a range of applications and services with one login. The software supports many authentication protocols, including SAML and OpenID Connect, and integrates with over 3,000 applications.

JumpCloud also offers MFA for enhanced security, with an online user portal where users can manage their own profiles and passwords. The software provides administrators with granular control over access policies and enables them to view user activity logs.

ManageEngine Identity Manager Plus

Identity Manager Plus, from ManageEngine, the IT management division of Zoho Corporation, is a cloud-based SSO and password management solution.

Identity Manager Plus can help to secure access to a range of resources, including Windows, macOS, and Linux machines. It’s also possible to implement SSO with optional MFA features. Due to Identity Manager Plus being cloud-based, IT departments set a manual schedule to synchronize their users with their on-premise AD.

OneLogin SSO

OneLogin SSO is a cloud-based SSO solution. It supports a range of authentication protocols, including SAML, LDAP, and OpenID Connect, and offers multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security.

OneLogin SSO can prove useful for large teams looking to share login credentials across multiple users, such as a marketing team using a single social media account. Users can also integrate OneLogin SSO with an endpoint device to log in with their OneLogin credentials. Organizations with on-premise AD must install additional software to connect to OneLogin.

Ping Identity SSO

Ping Identity offers several products that provide SSO user authentication, such as the PingOne Advanced Single Sign-On solution and PingFederate. Linking to their cloud-based SSO platform, these products can help give a smoother login process for web, mobile, and cloud applications.

Ping’s products can integrate with many SaaS and corporate applications. Ping also provides a number of access control tools that suit complex IT environments.

Why UserLock for SSO?

UserLock SSO enables secure and efficient access to both network and cloud resources.

  • With UserLock, organizations can continue to use their existing AD identity management solutions. This avoids creating new directories and centralizes access policies — all while providing the control and visibility that administrators need.
  • UserLock is scalable across entire directories. New user provisioning is fast and efficient, while admins can make modifications and remove access as needed.
  • UserLock SSO integrates with UserLock MFA and session management functionalities. Combined, this comprehensive provides secure and frictionless access to corporate networks and cloud applications. Admins can choose how UserLock SSO works — from granular MFA controls and contextual security to providing MFA with a choice of authenticator apps or hardware tokens.
  • UserLock SSO can provide on-premise authentication for all employees — including those with remote access. This provides the same smooth user experience while freeing IT teams from repetitive support tasks.
  • Installing UserLock SSO is straightforward and non-disruptive. IT departments can use UserLock to implement SSO quickly, without impacting existing resources.
  • UserLock provides access to many of the most popular SaaS and cloud applications. IT admins can easily configure UserLock access for other applications using the secure SAML 2.0 open standard.
  • The UserLock SSO central dashboard gives admins visibility over login attempts and cloud sessions. The available information includes allowed and denied attempts, username, date, time, source IP address, status, and application name.

UserLock Customer Testimonial

SYMTA Pièces

SYMTA Pièces is a French family enterprise that specializes in parts for automobiles and farming equipment.

SYMTA’s CIO, Vincent Dousset, takes a progressive approach to network security by adding additional layers to prevent potential attacks. The team implemented employee education, ran external security audits, and implemented password protection solutions. However, they needed to secure login access further and improve the visibility of user activity on the network.

SYMTA was seeking a solution to enable SSO and MFA for Office 365 with their existing on-premises AD credentials. They wanted a choice for MFA that wasn’t reliant on mobile devices. They also required granular contextual restrictions for VPN access and user activity management.

After a successful trial period, SYMTA chose UserLock to extend their existing AD infrastructure’s security. UserLock provides SYMTA employees with easy SSO access to Office 365, multiple MFA options, and granular contextual restrictions to protect VPN access and improve overall security.

Request a free demo of UserLock SSO

Combine SSO with MFA for secure and frictionless access to both network and cloud resources with UserLock. Request a free demo of UserLock today.


Share this post :


Chris Bunn is the Directeur Général Adjoint of IS Decisions, a global cybersecurity software company, specializing in access management and multi-factor authentication for Microsoft Active Directory environments and the cloud.

Secured By miniOrange