Google Smart Lock – Single Sign-on Solution For Schools

There’s a lot of pain at schools about remembering so many passwords. We use a LOT of online resources across all divisions and a lot of thought has been put into how to streamline this to:

  1. Take the frustration out remembering so many passwords.
  2. Eliminating the epidemic of post-its, notepads, taped paper on computers, etc. with passwords available for anyone to access.
  3. Keep school data secure and useable.

I put a lot of time and research into the “old school” way of a Single Sign-On (SSO) solution that would store everyone’s passwords on a server, then give each person a single password that would route through this system giving access to their stuff.  At the end of the day, the solution wasn’t sound, sustainable, accessible or easy for teachers to use. We use a LOT of stuff. Core applications like email and Student Information Systems, but also 100’s of different applications and learning tools.

The inner dialog about “what is best for AES” in Clint’s head went like the first 30 seconds of this video:

It was time to be forward thinking about the future of password management and what it means to school communication. With testing of various vendors and looking at the upcoming reality of a traditional SSO along with the large amount of passwords to support, a decision must be made to skip this infrastructure altogether and put the power in the hands of you, the owner of your passwords.

Google Smart Lock is a great solution of choice to integrate with Google Chrome . Chrome also plays best with Google Drive, Gmail and other Google Apps For Education, Google Classroom and other products which we all use on a constant basis.

Google Smart Lock for Passwords takes the hassle out of keeping your accounts safe for your websites. Smart Lock can save passwords to your Google Account and then help you use your passwords securely and conveniently on the websites you use in Chrome.

When you use Smart Lock for Passwords, passwords that you’ve saved in Chrome may be available on any device using the Google Chrome browser (including iPad and iPhone).

How to use

Step 1: Setup your Google Chrome account – and Enable password storage.

That’s it! As you use your browser and enter passwords, you’ll start seeing a pop-up prompting you to save your passwords to your Chrome profile. The next time you visit that site, you’ll be instantly logged in or your login and password will already be inserted in the fields, ready for you to sign in quickly.

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These passwords are saved to the Google cloud along with your Google information to be accessed by any of your Chrome Browsers when you are logged in.

If you already are signed into Google Chrome, here are the steps:



This posting wouldn’t be complete without some strong words about security. The following points are always true but are heightened when we talk about saving passwords to our Chrome Profiles. This syncing of passwords means if you save a password on your phone to your Google Chrome profile, that also will be available on your laptop next time you access that same site.

  • DO NOT share your Google password with anyone as not only will they have access to your Gmail, Drive, etc. but also instant login to any passwords you have saved in your Google Chrome Profile.
  • DO NOT leave your laptop or devices unattended. Do not leave a room with your laptop open and logged in. Please consider having a password lock on your mobile devices so anyone who finds your phone does not have access to your data.

What Smart Lock doesn’t do

  • Smart Lock will not save passwords to non-web based applications, this includes PowerSchool GradeBook (nor would a traditional SSO system).
  • Smart Lock will not save passwords to your Safari, Firefox, other browsers.

Concerns? Questions? Please leave them in the comments below and check to see if your question has already been answered.