Single Sign-On for SharePoint, Excel Services, and Project

Many of our customers are interested in single sign-on, so their users can connect to our online services without having to enter a username and password each time.

There are a number of single sign-on solutions on the market that enable access to browser-based applications. These solutions use technologies like Microsoft Live ID, Active Directory Federation Services, SAML, or even Project Hosts’ own ARGON solution (look for an upcoming blog post). They are great as long as all you want to do is to access web applications via your browser. But they typically do not work for access using Excel (connecting to Excel Services), Project Professional (connecting to Project Server), or from other local applications running on your PC.

We have found that the best and most flexible single sign-on solution is to use the Windows Credential Manager. This feature is built into Windows and provides a mechanism to store user credentials in a encrypted vault associated with the user’s profile. More than 90% of our customers have chosen this solution. The solution requires us to issue a username and password for each user based on an Active Directory domain associated with the hosted application. The first time a user logs in, he or she can simply check the box “Remember my password” to store them in Credential manager. As long as users have permission on their system to use the Windows Credential Manager and have trusted our site in their browsers, they will automatically login to application without any additional logon prompts. Users can connect using a browser, they can view an Excel Services report online then open it in Excel on their PC, they can launch Project Professional on their PC and have it automatically connect in the background to Project Server – it is a completely seamless experience with no additional logins necessary. None of the other single sign-on solutions mentioned above work for all of these access methods.

Please email info@projecthosts.com if you would like more information about Windows Credential Manager or if you would like our white paper comparing various Single Sign-On options.

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