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7 must-have LMS security features for increased protection

• 8 min read

Learning management system (LMS) security features are an essential part of the software solution.

They help secure user privacy, protect sensitive information, and promote a secure online learning environment. 

In this article, we’ll be covering seven key LMS security features and discussing their relevancy in connection with LMSs and other e-learning platforms.

We’ll deep dive into:

  • SSL certificates
  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
  • Data encryption
  • User roles
  • GDPR
  • Password requirements
  • Data backups

Let’s see how they can help with an organization’s training programs. 

Disclaimer: The information below is accurate as of April 12th, 2024.

1. SSL certificate

A secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate is a security protocol (a piece of code) that creates an encrypted connection between the user’s browser and a web server.  

SSL certificates use encryption algorithms to scramble information while in transit between two systems, websites, or users. 

Sites or systems protected by this security feature have an HTTPS web address, with the “S” standing for Secure. Those without the feature have an HTTP address.

These certificates come in three different forms:

  • Single-domain SSL certificates that apply to a single domain and all the web pages within that domain. Single-domain SSLs don’t provide authentication for other domains or subdomains. 
  • Wildcard SSL certificates are single-domain SSLs that also include the main domain’s subdomains.   
  • Multi-domain SSL certificates (MDC) list multiple domains under the same certificate. 

The benefits of SSL certificates are that they make data transfers impossible to access and read by unauthorized third parties. Hackers and other malicious actors can’t intercept sensitive data while in transit. 

It should be noted that a few years ago, Google started marking sites without SSL certificates as unsafe and began pushing them down in the search rankings.  

Many anti-virus software will also notify users whenever they try to access one such unsecured website. 

SSL certificates are an important security feature because they keep the learning platform and its information safe. This includes personal data or login credentials.   

Some online training platforms like Docebo include e-commerce capabilities where organizations can sell their training courses online.  

Therefore, Docebo allows organizations to manage their SSL certificates to protect personal data, credit card information, and other sensitive LMS data from being stolen or modified.  

2. Single sign-on (SSO)

Single sign-on (SSO) is a security feature that allows users to access multiple sites and applications by using a single set of login credentials like usernames, passwords, or email addresses.

SSO works by creating a connection between the Service Provider (SP) and Identity Provider (IdP), authenticating users, and then authorizing their access to the SP’s site or platform. 

The benefits of single sign-on are better data security, easier access, and improved overall user experience.

Statistics show that 91% of internet users know reusing passwords is a security risk. Still, 59% use the same password on all of their accounts. 

SSO is an important security feature because it reduces the chances of security breaches by having users log in only once a day on all systems simultaneously. 

This feature also makes it easier for admins to remove user accounts or restrict access to former employees from the entire system. 

Additionally, SSOs make it easy for learners to access their training resources without remembering multiple usernames and passwords. 

Docebo offers multiple SSO options for IdPs like SAML 2.0, Okta, OpenID Connect, and OneLogin. 

It also includes SSO integrations with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, and Google Apps, so learners can use those platforms to access Docebo and its training resources.

3. Data encryption

Data encryption is a security measure that keeps information safe while it’s being sent between different apps or systems. 

Data encryption works by translating the information into ciphertext (code) and only people with a special key or password can access it. By comparison, unencrypted data is called plain text. 

There are two main types of data encryption:

  • Symmetric encryption uses the same secret key for both encryption and decryption. 
  • Asymmetric encryption uses two keys – a private key held by the data’s owner and a public key distributed among the data’s recipients. 

Symmetric encryption is faster but requires sharing the private key. Of the two, asymmetric encryption is safer.

The benefits of data encryption are that it increases data protection by ensuring the information is not stolen, modified, or otherwise compromised. 

This applies to information shared between systems or devices over a network (data in transit) and information stored in a fixed location or the cloud (data at rest).

Data encryption is an important LMS security feature because it allows you to safely send data between desktops or mobile devices, the LMS and another app, or to and from the LMS vendor’s server. 

This is a particularly important cybersecurity feature to have as it allows for secure data transfers between LMS integrations with third-party apps.  

Docebo provides several data encryption options, such as auditable encryption algorithms and AWS encryption key management services that are aligned with industry standards. 

This is great news, particularly for those who need to adhere to strict regulatory standards such as healthcare and finance service organizations.

4. User roles

User roles are a learning management system function that offers different permission levels to the platform’s users. 

They work by assigning or restricting access to certain features and functionalities within the platform to individuals based on their responsibilities. 

User roles help streamline the platform’s management and help ensure a better user experience and navigation. By granting and restricting certain functionalities, users don’t get bogged down among the LMS’ many features they don’t have any use for. 

More importantly, user roles help maintain data security and integrity. 

They help control access to the system’s settings and sensitive data to certain users. For example, learners shouldn’t be able to access and change their test results. 

Different corporate LMSs have their own designated user roles. Still, they follow roughly the same template. 

Docebo, for instance, uses the following user roles: 

  • Learners gain access to online training courses, assignments, and other features directly related to their learning. 
  • Tutors have similar access to learners and additional support and moderation responsibilities in forums. 
  • Instructors play an important role in instructional design when creating course modules. They deliver and manage courses and monitor learner progress and performance. 
  • Managers deal with user management and oversee daily operations and workflows within the LMS. 
  • Experts use their expertise to contribute to the knowledge base and provide learner guidance. In Docebo, those with expert user roles also review, publish, or reject user-generated content that learners can capture and share with their peers via the Discover, Coach & Share feature. 

In addition to these user roles, you can assign different permission levels that further dictate the extent of control and access users have across the LMS. 

These are: 

  • Superadmins have the highest level of access across all levels of the training platform. 
  • Power users have more permissions than regular users but less than superadmins. You can customize their permissions to fit your unique business needs. 
  • Users have access to training programs but have no administrative privileges whatsoever. 


Organizations operating in the European Union or with LMS users who are also EU citizens must abide by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR is one of the toughest and most comprehensive privacy and security pieces of legislation globally. 

It reinforces user privacy and trust by ensuring organizations handle EU citizens’ personal information in a lawful and transparent manner. 

Although not a security feature in itself, GDPR compliance will align the LMS with all legal requirements. It also shows commitment to mitigating the risk of data breaches and ethical user data practices by all those who abide by it. 

Docebo is fully compliant with GDPR across all its services. It’s also certified under both Swiss-US and EU-US Privacy Shield.

6. Password requirements 

We already mentioned that 59% of internet users reuse their passwords on multiple accounts. Statistics also show that as many as 81% of all data breaches are caused by compromised, weak, and reused passwords.

Password requirements help to mitigate this risk. 

Most professional learning management systems have some administrative settings that demand learners and other users to create passwords of certain lengths (i.e. 12 characters or more) with numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase characters. 

Some systems may also include password validity periods. After a predefined period, users will have to change their passwords, making the old ones obsolete. 

These types of strong passwords help prevent unauthorized access to the learning platform’s database.

Docebo also has several password restrictions, such as:

  • Sequences and repeated characters (12345, 99999, abcdef, etc.)
  • Adjacent key placement (qwerty, asdfgh, etc.)
  • Easily guessable combinations (password, password123, admin, etc.)

Passwords containing these sequences will be automatically rejected because they’re easily guessed and vulnerable to so-called dictionary attacks. Requiring strong passwords is one of the best ways to increase password security.

7. Data backups

Data backups are duplicate copies of a system’s information at a given moment.

To safeguard against cyberattacks, malware infection, accidental deletion, system failures, or corruption, most LMS providers conduct regular data backups of their clients’ information as a recovery mechanism. 

Data backups are highly important for learning management systems as they allow a swift restoration of the platform’s operational state. This means less downtime and ensures learners don’t face long interruptions in their training. 

Generally, daily data backups are recommended. 

Depending on the type of service and subscription, Docebo conducts data backups from once daily to up to three times a day. 

Docebo backups are also subject to recurring integrity tests to ensure the information is complete, correct, and recoverable. The information stored as backups is also encrypted. 

Why is LMS security important?

The need for data security has never been higher. According to Cybercrime Magazine, the global cost of cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion in 2015. That’s a 15% increase year-on-year. 

The e-learning industry is not immune to this trend, and businesses need to pay closer attention to the security features of their LMS provider or risk paying the consequences. 

As Andrew Pickett, lead Trial Attorney and Founder at Andrew Pickett Law based in Melbourne, FL., puts it “With the rise of online learning, LMS vendors must prioritize security features such as SSO, SSL certificates, and data encryption to protect user data and prevent potential security breaches.”

Yet, LMS security features have other benefits, too. 

Andrew Pickett goes on to say, “Having a secure LMS is not just about protecting sensitive data but also about maintaining trust with your clients and learners. 

Data breaches and cyberattacks are becoming more prevalent, and the consequences can be costly in terms of financial, legal, and reputational damage.

…It’s better to be proactive and prevent potential breaches than deal with the aftermath of a security breach.

The security of an LMS is not just about protecting data; it’s also about safeguarding your brand and credibility.”

So, when you’re choosing an LMS to fit your e-learning needs, don’t just look at its “shiny” online training features. Do your due diligence and analyze the vendor’s security capabilities as well.

What are the key LMS security vulnerabilities?

Some key LMS security vulnerabilities are the following:

  • Data interception happens when information is exchanged between systems or devices across the network, where it can be stolen, altered, or compromised. Data encryption and SSL certificates help prevent this from happening. 
  • Unauthorized access to the LMS and other company systems can result from weak passwords, phishing, or password recycling. Once inside, hackers can steal sensitive data and install viruses, malware, or ransomware. Companies can mitigate this risk with strong password requirements and SSO and can use data backups to regain control. 
  • Accidental exposure can happen in several ways, such as messing up an authorization setting, losing a mobile device, or sending sensitive data to the wrong person. Strong passwords and user roles can help ensure nothing more serious comes of these accidents. 
  • Insider jobs are typically the result of disgruntled employees who intentionally leak sensitive information. User roles and permissions can help in this regard, but larger companies will resort to insider threat management tools to mitigate such threats.
  • Phishing attacks are attempts by cybercriminals to pose as legitimate entities asking users to share sensitive information such as login credentials. The best defense against these attacks is knowledge. A general rule of thumb is never to share sensitive information across communication channels, no matter who asks for it.  

To prevent this from happening, all requests that change data on the server and requests that return personal or other sensitive data must be protected.

Among the top technical LMS requirements of any professional system are its security features. They can save you a lot of time, energy, and headaches down the road.

The bottom line

Robust LMS security features like SSL certificates, SSO, data encryption, regular backups, user roles, and strong password controls are indispensable. 

They help keep data safe and ensure a secure learning environment, fostering trust among all system stakeholders. 

Schedule a demo with Docebo today to ensure your user and company data is safe and secure.