_YouTube Thumbnail

Single Sign-on (SSO) for AEC Firms Explained

In the realm of architecture, engineering, and design (AEC) firms, data security isn’t just a choice; it’s a necessity.  

The stakes are high, and the consequences of lax security can be catastrophic. In this episode of Design Under Influence, we delve into the world of email security, specifically focusing on Single Sign-On (SSO) technology.  

Our resident experts from ArchIT, Harry and Mark, share insights on why SSO is a game-changer for AEC firms and explore the costs, benefits, and potential drawbacks. 

AEC Firms and the Need for Robust Security 

The AEC industry handles vast amounts of sensitive data, from intricate architectural plans to engineering schematics. This treasure trove of information is not only valuable to the firms themselves but also to potential cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities. 

The stage is set by highlighting the evolution of security measures. Two-factor authentication (2FA) has been a significant step forward, but it’s not without its flaws, such as phone number spoofing. This is where Single Sign-On (SSO) steps in. 

Deciphering Single Sign-On (SSO) 

SSO simplifies the user authentication process by allowing users to access multiple applications using a single set of credentials. Imagine signing into your Microsoft 365 account and gaining access to Autodesk or other essential tools with the same login details. This streamlined process enhances security and user experience, ensuring secure connections on the backend. 

Elevating Security with Identity Providers 

However, SSO isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It can be customized further to maximize security. Identity providers like Duo and Okta can be integrated to create a centralized single sign-on experience. These tools provide an additional layer of security by requiring users to confirm their identity via a push notification sent to their mobile device. 

This means that even if someone steals your password, they can’t access your account without physical possession of your phone. The importance of this extra layer of protection cannot be overstated in today’s digital landscape. 

The Drawbacks and Costs 

No solution is without its drawbacks, and SSO is no exception. The primary concern raised is the fear of change. Many firms are comfortable with their existing login procedures and hesitate to adopt new technologies, even if it means enhanced security and productivity. 

In terms of cost, while SSO itself may not break the bank, the initial configuration and setup can vary based on the number of applications you wish to secure. The estimated cost for a 25-person firm could range from 10 to 15 hours of IT work. 

In a world where data breaches can cripple a business, the adoption of Single Sign-On technology is more than just an IT upgrade—it’s a strategic investment in security and efficiency. The benefits of enhanced security, streamlined user experience, and simplified onboarding and offboarding processes far outweigh the drawbacks. 

However, change can be daunting, and the initial setup cost is a consideration. Yet, as it was aptly put, “The benefits that SSO gives you can also be a negative.” The very advantages that make SSO appealing, such as ease of access, can also pose risks if not properly secured. Therefore, a well-thought-out implementation, preferably with the guidance of IT experts, is essential. 

In conclusion, when it comes to email security for AEC firms, it’s akin to choosing between a flimsy trailer in the woods and a fortified bank vault. The probabilities weigh heavily in favor of the latter. In the digital age, securing your valuable data isn’t just a choice; it’s a responsibility. Single Sign-On technology offers AEC firms a robust and efficient solution to safeguard their digital assets, and the cost of implementation is a small price to pay for peace of mind. 

If you have questions or need help please reach out to us. ArchIT specializes in providing IT services for architecture, design, and engineering firms.