Why single sign on for education is a lifesaver

More schools than ever are using cloud-based applications in the classroom. These tools are a fantastic way to improve the learning experience for both students and teachers. But with each platform requiring a different login, password management can become a real headache.

The solution is to use single sign-on for education software tools. Single sign-on does away with individual passwords and allows teachers, students, and parents to use a familiar, secure password to access every app.

What is single sign-on?

Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication method that streamlines the login process for cloud-based software by allowing consumers to use the same username and password to access multiple apps.

The process is built on a trusted relationship between the website and the SSO provider, writes Jennifer Still at Business Insider. “The two exchange certificates containing identity information. This ID, which comes in the form of login tokens, contains information about the user, such as a username or email and password, to allow the service provider to know the connection is from a trusted source.”

SSO providers include Microsoft, Google, Duo, Okta, and OneLogin. Teachers can use their login credentials for these providers to access popular edtech tools like Kahoot! and Jotform.

What are the benefits of single sign-on for education tools?

There are many reasons educational institutions should prioritize software that offers one or more single sign-on options.

The first is to improve security, which is a big concern for schools, says technology consultant Russell Smith, who’s the editorial director at Petri.com, a knowledge base for technologists. “Advanced persistent threat groups continue to target K–12 schools, prompting the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to urge all school leaders to strengthen user passwords to guard against misuses, which have grown in prevalence with distance learning in place nationwide,” Smith writes.

Teachers tend to create easy-to-remember passwords when each application requires a new one, and these passwords are often easy to crack. By using SSO, teachers can use a single password that’s longer and more complex to log into every application without increasing security risk. Even though teachers use the same password each time, the credential swapping that occurs between the application and SSO provider means every login is secure.

The second reason is improved usability. Teachers, students, and parents don’t have to worry about creating, memorizing, or managing multiple passwords for each application. Nor do they have to go through the hassle of resetting their password every time they forget it.

It also increases the likelihood teachers and students will continue to use the applications you’re paying for. Research by the Baymard Institute found that strict password rules impact usability so much they can significantly increase the checkout abandonment rate on e-commerce sites — to as much as 18.75 percent. Users could abandon your edtech tools to the same extent.

An increase in productivity is another benefit of single sign-on. Not only are teachers, students and parents more likely to use the edtech tool in question, but they’ll be more productive using it. With single sign-on for education, there’s no need to search through a list of passwords to get started. They can access the tool using credentials they know and start working immediately.

Finally, SSO eases the burden on your administrative team. Your school’s IT team will have to respond to far fewer support calls when students and teachers sign in using SSO. That may seem like a small win on the face of it, but in a school with several hundred students plus staff, that can quickly add up to significant time savings.

What are Jotform’s SSO capabilities?

Jotform Enterprise has an SSO feature that lets students and teachers access and manage forms using a single set of login details from a range of popular SSO providers. Jotform Enterprise integrates with Microsoft, Google, Okta, Duo, OneLogin, and many more SSO providers, so you can save time, increase efficiency, and improve security for your entire school.

Discover how educators are using Jotform Enterprise and its range of education templates, or contact our sales team today. 

This article is originally published on Jun 06, 2022, and updated on Dec 04, 2022.

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