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How to Make Software Speak with APIs and Single Sign-On

What do an Application Programming Interface (API) and Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities offer? If you ask a developer in the software industry about how these functions will help simplify and streamline your workflow process, you should be able to leave the conversation confidently knowing that implementing these capabilities is easy and very common among the technology community. For those of you who don’t have access to a developer, this post will help you define the differences between the two and how they can make your life easier by making software speak to one another.

InfinityHR hosted a free, weekly webinar series every Wednesday at 11 a.m. MST to introduce the brand new User Interface (UI), business intelligence tool, API and SSO integrations launching March 2018. Watch the recorded version on-demand here!

What is an API and how does it make software speak?

make-software-speak-APIs-chart

Let’s keep this simple! An API is an interface which allows developers to communicate directly with other software programs and applications. It allows programs to “speak” with one another, essentially to send and retrieve various sets of data automatically. For every API created, a set of credentials, also known as “keys” are shared by the developers and administrators.

Some Benefits of APIs Include:

  • Integrations – APIs allow your content to be embedded easily throughout your website or other applications. This allows for a smoother user experience with information that is always up-to-date.
  • Efficiency – content will only need to be created once. With an API, what’s created will automatically be published and made available to many channels.
  • Security – APIs can be used to share services and information with various audiences and in specific contexts. Full customization can be used to tailor assorted experiences.
  • Automation – Having an API allows for simplified workflows. For example, having the ability to update content to multiple sections of a website (or multiple websites) at once. Having automation capabilities reduces and removes redundant process steps the admin would typically undertake, which allows them to focus on higher priorities.

What is SSO and how does it make software speak?

According to Margaret Rouse of TechTarget, “Single sign-on (SSO) is a session and user authentication service that permits a user to use one set of login credentials (e.g., name and password) to access multiple applications. The service authenticates the end user for all the applications the user has been given rights to and eliminates further prompts when the user switches applications during the same session. On the back end, SSO is helpful for logging user activities as well as monitoring user accounts.”

How does Federated Identity Management (FIM) work with SSO to make the process more secure?

make-software-speak-with-SSO-FMI-chart

To make SSO even more secure, companies who share data and information for business needs typically implement a Federated Identity Mangement (FIM) system to run in the background. FIMs refer to a way to connect identity management systems together. According to Andy Zinel of Centrify, ” With FIM, a user’s credentials are always stored with a “home” organization (the “identity provider”). When the user logs into a service (SaaS application), instead of providing credentials to the service provider, the service provider trusts the identity provider to validate the credentials. So the user never provides credentials directly to anyone but the identity provider. You are federating your service providers (SaaS applications) with your FIM (identity provider). It’s a many to one mapping, many SaaS applications to one identity provider.”

How can InfinityHR help you make software speak?

API

By transmitting data in real-time, the API provides a simplified way for third-party vendors to extract information from the end-users HCM database; allowing the HCM to act as the system of record.

  • API access is free
  • Real-time transmit, no waiting for syncs
  • Communicate employee data to a third-party vendor for matters of time clock punches, time off tracking and more

SSO

This feature with new federated login support allows users a streamlined login experience. You’ll be able to move between services securely and uninterrupted without specifying credential each time.

  • Allows user to remember only one strong password
  • Boost productivity lost from password resets
  • Centralize management of authentication

For additional information and resources around the March 2018 release, please visit the product release landing page.

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