ShareKnowledge Blog

Form Based Authentication vs. Single Sign-On

Amber Rasmussen March, 2014
authentication in LMS
One of the great things about the ShareKnowledge Learning Management System (LMS) is that it inherits the capabilities of SharePoint and it has poweful unique features of its own. For example, ShareKnowledge inherits SharePoint’s Form Based Authentication (FBA) that allows controlled ShareKnowledge access for non Active Directory (AD) configured users like third-party business partners. 
 
On the other hand, a unique ShareKnowledge feature based on tight integration with Active Directory (AD) is the ability for ShareKnowledge users to leverage Single Sign -on (SSO) in ShareKnowledge and have access to SharePoint. 
 
With SSO for AD-configured users and FBA for third parties, ShareKnowledge makes its learning management capabilities available to self-registering employees and business partners. This combination is especially useful in highly regulated industries. The intrinsic integration of ShareKnowledge and SharePoint means no useful sign-on and access capability slips through the cracks.  
 
What does ShareKnowledge FBA buy you? You get two powerful learning management workflows. First, a streamlined workflow for authenticating and approving business partners and other approved third-parties to take use your training materials, including “read and approved” content, training courses, and certification exams. Second, a special workflow built into ShareKnowledge for quickly building and approving ShareKnowledge user accounts. This second workflow reduces administrative workloads.
 
Let’s look at an example. 
Suppose you are an Insurance company with third-party agents who want to take your training and certification courses. It would be convenient for those agents to access one of your web pages and request authorization to register for one or more courses. Web sign-up is an efficient self-service approach that saves you and your registrants time and effort. Here is ShareKnowledge FBA in action.
 
1 – A third-party insurance agent registers on your web portal, providing identifying information such as name, employer, email, phone, and similar information. Note that ShareKnowledge can proactively use the email address provided to inform the insurance agents about new courses, tests, and similar material.
 
2 – Your trusted administrator reviews the registration request and approves or denies it. Here is the first ShareKnowledge FBA workflow in action. For this example, let’s assume the request is approved.
 
3 – Once approved, the registering insurance agent has access to designated areas of ShareKnowledge, and SharePoint. Your insurance agency partner can now request access to courses, take tests, and ShareKnowledge retains the records of these interactions. ShareKnowledge FBA further simplifies course and content access by providing three levels of course access:
  • Open – Applicants can take the course
  • Recommended – Applicants should take the course
  • Required – Applications must take the course
Your business may provide fee-based training for its business partners. In this example, ShareKnowledge FBA opens the door to billing your insurance agency partner for the training courses and testing you provided. 
 
4 – With the right permissions, the approved agent may have additional access to your SharePoint document repository. This would be useful for collaborating on proposal documents, marketing material, and similar content that would benefit from collaboration among several parties.
 
If you prefer to have your own personnel register third-party staff, ShareKnowledge FBA makes it easy. Here, the second ShareKnowledge FBA workflow provides value. In the Insurance Agent example, another approach to allow the agents access to the ShareKnowledge learning environment is to have one of your administrators, or their designee, set up the insurance agent’s records, and then turn over the course assignment to an approved individual at the Insurance Agency. 
 
Now your insurance agency partner can assign courses to their agents to ensure each agent stays up-to-date on your policies, and passes the required certification exams. With ShareKnowledge FBA, you have externalized the management of course assignments to your business partners, and integrated them into your learning environment, simply and easily. ShareKnowledge FBA helps you ensure the correct and complete training and certification of your trusted business partners.
 
Are you ready to learn more about ShareKnowledge FBA? ShareKnowledge has a trial environment hosted in Microsoft Azure. Click here to request a a 30-day trial period to experience the value of ShareKnowledge.
 
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