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Difference Between SSO and LDAP

SSO vs LDAP

To understand the specific differences that stand in between SSO and LDAP, it is good to have an insightful view of what the two acronyms refer to and what it is that they do. From these, it is possible to see the specific value that both bring to the table.

Both SSO and LDAP refer to the enterprise environment. While in this environment, it is prudent to secure the user authentication systems and it is here that both SSO and LDAP come into play. The use of SSO is a very popular method of allowing access with just a single sign in. LDAP, on the other hand, is the protocol used in authentication of the SSO systems.

LDA can be referred to as an adaptation of the X.500, which is a very complex enterprise directory system. This directory stem was developed by students of the University of Michigan. The Acronym LDAP refers to Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. So far, three versions of LDAP have been produced. The functionality of LDAP comes in as an Application Protocol for applications such as browsers, email programs, networked machines access address books and other information that might have been stored in the servers.

For the client programs that are LDAP aware, they can interact with the LDAP running servers in multiple ways. The information is available and lives in directories of which are in an organized set of records. All entries of data come indexed by the LDAP servers. In the event that a certain group is requested, the LDAP servers make use of specific filters to outline the information that may be requested for.

A good example of LDAP at work is an email client searching an email address of people living in a specified location such as a city or even a town. LDAP is not only used in assisting people in looking up contact information. Its use is quite thorough, with issues such as encryption certificates in machines, and also it looks through additional resources attached to the network such as printers and scanners.

It is also important to note that LDAP is used as SSO too. This can be seen in the event that a fast lookup is required and the info stored is rarely updated. In such circumstances, LDAP servers can be used. The LDAP server can be public, organizational or even small workgroup servers. The admin, as for other servers, is the one that determines the permissions allowed for such databases.

SSO, on the other hand, refers to a single sign-on and is a system that allows a user to login just one time and with the sign in, he has access to multiple systems. There are no additional prompts for sign in by the individual systems that fall under the system that the user has logged in. Different systems come with different authentication systems. The main benefit of using the SSO system is that there is increased security and limited phishing activity. The reduced number of authentication is also a good sign in that it reduces password fatigue for the end user. This translates to less expenditure for running the the help desk.

Most SSO systems make use of the LDAP authentication system. Upon a user entering their data, the details of the user are sent to the security server for authentication. The security server in return sends the info to the LDAP server, with the LDAP server using the given credentials. In the event the login is successful, access is granted.

The difference that can be talked about when looking at these two applications is that LDAP is an application protocol that is used to crosscheck information on the server end. SSO, on the other hand, is a user authentication process, with the user providing access to multiple systems.


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