Let Me Count the Ways: an Array of Authentication Options to Keep Your Employees Engaged in Innovation

February 28th, 2014   /     /   Smarter Identity

This is a guest post from Sima Shimansky, Director of Customer Services at Kindling, one of our valued app partners, which provides enterprise innovation software people enjoy using. We have partnered with Kindling to provide a free plan that easily connects internal Active Directory or LDAP Server to Kindling to enable organizations to provide seamless access to end-users with simple and secure provisioning without passwords.

In any innovation program, employee engagement is critical for success. Employees drive the ideas and discussion that lead to results. We posted recently about one way to keep participants engaged, with a responsive design that supports a user’s contributions from any device. This post focuses on another important way to keep engagement high, by making it easy for participants to sign in and reducing the friction that forgetting a username or password can create.

In 2013 we added three new methods for logging into Kindling: SAML, Google and Yammer authentication. Not only did we make it easier than ever to access Kindling, but we also integrated with many of the SaaS enterprises that are already part of your daily workflow. The key factor common to all of these integrations is that they enable you to take advantage of your already-existing identity stores. This means no work maintaining a separate user store for Kindling and easier access for Kindling participants, who can log in without having to keep track of yet another username and password. We’ve all seen that familiar “forgot your password” message and then either spent 5 minutes resetting the password or given up completely and moved onto another task. Since innovation software is dependent upon social interaction, it’s crucial to get this first step right. After all, you can’t crowdsource without the crowd!

SAML Authentication

SAML has become an industry standard for authentication and is growing in acceptance in enterprises. It is a secure mechanism for communicating login information between two parties, an ‘Identity Provider’, which manages the identity information for everyone at your organization, such as usernames and passwords, and a ‘Service Provider’, in this case Kindling. When a user logs in with SAML, behind the scenes, they are initiating communication between these parties to verify their identity and log them into Kindling. SAML doesn’t access your user information directly, instead, SAML only asks for verification of particular users. SAML bypasses issues of a direct connection to the server in a corporate network and this makes it more secure than LDAP or Active Directory.

The primary advantage of SAML is that it allows for Single Sign On authentication. Users don’t need to remember another username and password; they can log into Kindling with the same credentials they use for other applications. Once they are logged into one SAML-enabled application, they can log into Kindling at the click of a button, without having to provide their username and password again. Since SAML is reusable across multiple service providers, system administrators have only one set of credentials to maintain for each user and users have only one set of credentials to use for multiple applications.

SAML can work off of a number of different directory structures, the most popular choice being LDAP or Active Directory. As a customer of Kindling, you may choose to implement SAML yourself or to work with a provider that will take care of the setup for you. We’ve partnered with OneLogin, a SAML provider who makes your SAML setup a breeze. As part of our partnership, single sign-on setup and integration with Kindling is free of charge.

Google Apps Authentication

For organizations that already use Google Apps, we’ve added Google authentication, an alternative that leverages users’ existing Google credentials. Google apps and authentication is more ubiquitous in the enterprise space, and we’re excited about this offering which enables participants to log into Kindling at the click of a button. Setup is simple too; just let us know your Google domain!

Yammer Authentication

For organizations that use Yammer, you can take advantage of Yammer authentication, which enables participants to log into Kindling with their existing Yammer credentials. If you’ve already integrated Kindling with Yammer, you’ve experienced the advantages of shared content between them. New Ideas and Posts in Kindling are automatically pushed to your Yammer feed to spark conversations about ideation in Kindling, and Kindling displays Yammer statistics around these discussions. Yammer authentication for Kindling is the next natural step as it allows for seamlessly switching between the two applications, keeping participants engaged in your innovation program.

With so many ways to sign into Kindling, authentication is no longer a barrier to participation. Users can easily log into Kindling and contribute. This year, we’ll continue to build new ways to make it easier for your team to use Kindling and stay engaged in your innovation program. Many of the changes we made in 2013 were direct responses to customer suggestions – email us at info@kindlingapp.com to let us know what changes you’d like to see.

About the Author

Simas Shimansky, Director of Customer Services at Kindling, is one of our valued OneLogin ISV app partners. Kindling provides enterprise innovation software people enjoy using. We have partnered with Kindling to provide a free plan that easily connects internal Active Directory or LDAP Server to Kindling to enable organizations to provide seamless access to end-users with simple and secure provisioning without passwords.

View all posts by Sima Shimansky