Our upcoming Identity Management market report 2007/2008 shows some interesting results. Not to surprising, at least most of them, but nevertheless pretty interesting. One important information is where the money will be spent next year. For sure there is Identity Provisioning. And, as expected, Role Management is a very important area. Besides these both areas there is Single Sign-On as the third topic on which a lot of money will be spent within the next 12 months. More than 30% of the survey participants will implement SSO, will enhance their implementations significantly or will replace the technology which they use today. Another roundabout 30% will optimize their existing implementations. Less than 30% of the companies won't spend money on SSO.
The question behind is for the reason why. There are some aspects. SSO helps the users. It eases their lifes with less user names and passwords. SSO makes the user the admin's friend. Another aspect is compliance. SSO might help in achieving some of the targets of compliance, at least in (the strongly recommended) combination with strong authentication.
It is easier to audit who is allowed to access which applications, who actively uses accounts in which system and who has accessed which system when. Upcoming trends like the integration with events from phyiscal access systems, thus doing the step towards context-based authentication and authorization, enhance the support for compliance requirements.
From my perspective, these two aspects - user friendliness and compliance support - are the most important driving factors for the success of SSO. Besides, SSO is pretty mature, at least the Enterprise SSO solutions which are most common today. But also token-based approaches like the use of Smartcards with certificates and other credentials stored on the tokens shows an increasing maturity, lower costs and a broader availabilty of devices.
Thus, if you haven't solved your SSO issues until know, start thinking about. But when you think about, don't remain with an internal solution like Enterprise SSO but think about the future. SSO for your customers through support of OpenID, CardSpace and other technologies shall as well be part of your SSO strategy (look at some of our downloads...) as the role identity federation will play in the next years.