Robust Authentication Concerns for Digital, Cloud-First Companies | Guard Tech

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Authentication as a fundamental safety management is important for organizations to know who and what’s accessing company sources and belongings. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety Company (CISA) states that authentication is the method of verifying {that a} consumer’s id is real.

On this local weather of superior cyber threats and motivated cybercriminals, organizations should implement sturdy authentication to guard towards refined assaults. Robust authentication is a technique used to guard pc methods and/or networks by verifying a consumer’s id, and contains varied applied sciences and strategies, together with multi-factor authentication (MFA). This text will spotlight among the applied sciences and strategies that facilitate and allow sturdy authentication.

Firms are slowly transferring away from weak passwords

Historically, usernames and passwords have opened the gateway to a company, permitting entry to sources and information belongings. Passwords, nevertheless, are insecure. When consumer Joe Smith enters his username and password to request entry to the group’s sources and belongings, how does the group know it is him and never another person simply utilizing his password?

There may be merely no strategy to know with any diploma of certainty with out stronger authentication. Relying solely on a consumer to enter her password as a method of authenticating her id earlier than having access to a company’s sources and information is just too dangerous. Because of this, firms are studying that they should mature their strategies by transferring from the username and password mannequin to sturdy authentication.

Within the 2021 Thales Entry Administration Index report, which incorporates survey outcomes from greater than 2,600 respondents in additional than 10 international locations, the findings confirmed that whereas respondents have been on their journey in the direction of extra refined authentication capabilities and applied sciences that included multi-factor authentication (MFA) adoption, the worldwide common for MFA adoption was solely 55%. This reveals that MFA within the context of sturdy authentication just isn’t but the norm.

Strategic concerns

As organizations transfer towards trendy authentication, it will likely be essential to think about how a strong answer will help enterprise goals, consumer expertise, and tackle organizational dangers. To attain this, organizations ought to take into account implementing completely different strategies primarily based on completely different ranges of danger. To keep away from any software or answer overlap, it is necessary for organizations to take inventory of the options which might be already in place to handle authentication, id and entry administration.

Technological concerns

Implementing MFA makes it tougher for a risk actor to realize entry to info methods, comparable to distant entry expertise, electronic mail, and billing methods, even when passwords are compromised by hacking assaults. phishing or different means. MFA is a layered strategy to safe entry. To allow MFA, you need to present a mixture of two or extra authenticators (that’s, a mixture of one thing you could have, one thing you recognize, or one thing you might be) to confirm your id earlier than entry is granted. Applied sciences for MFA embrace:

  • One-Time Passwords (OTP): expertise primarily based on a shared secret saved within the authentication system
  • Certificates-Based mostly Authentication (CBA): Ensures authentication utilizing a private and non-private encryption key that’s distinctive to the authenticating system and the particular person holding it. Examples embrace USB tokens and good playing cards.
  • Context-based authentication: Context-based authentication makes use of contextual info to find out whether or not or not a consumer’s id is genuine and is beneficial as a complement to different sturdy authentication applied sciences.
  • Quick Identification On-line (FIDO) authentication makes use of safe biometric authentication mechanisms, comparable to facial recognition and fingerprints, to authenticate customers.

Whereas MFA is safer than utilizing single issue authentication (ie password solely), it doesn’t shield towards refined phishing assaults. For instance, customers will be tricked into offering a one-time code similar to a safety advisory that grants the attacker entry to a company’s information.

MFA processes that use shared secrets and techniques are weak to phishing assaults. Because of this, and since authorities officers are sometimes the goal of refined phishing assaults, the US federal authorities requires a phishing-resistant MFA. Phishing resistant MFA makes use of uneven key cryptographic authentication processes. Phishing-resistant approaches to MFA embrace the federal authorities’s use of the Private Identification Verification (PIV) commonplace to guard towards refined phishing assaults. CISA claims that solely FIDO authentication is proof against phishing.

traps to keep away from

A standard pitfall is unintentionally creating operational complexity by deploying completely different instruments at completely different occasions. The Thales Entry Administration Index report highlights {that a} third (33%) of respondents stated they use three or extra authentication entry administration instruments. Coordinating many methods cannot solely create operational complexity, it could actually additionally enhance the danger of errors or misconfigurations that may create safety gaps.

Whereas sturdy authentication will shield towards assaults in a method that weak authentication can not, it isn’t an answer that ought to be applied with out contemplating the human aspect. Workers have to be supplied with coaching and end-user data of the expertise and strategies to make sure they use sturdy authentication in accordance with safety greatest practices.


Robust authentication is vital to a mature cybersecurity program. It’s the basis for a company’s id methods and entry controls, and is seen as a mandatory step in attaining a zero-trust structure and gaining cyber insurance coverage. Robust authentication requires expertise that protects towards the commonest strategies of gaining unauthorized information entry, in addition to refined and focused phishing assaults. As organizations implement sturdy authentication, due consideration have to be given to strategically deciding on a software or answer that meets consumer wants, enterprise goals, and avoids operational complexity.

Concerning the Writer: Ambler Jackson is an lawyer with in depth expertise in company governance, regulatory compliance, and privateness regulation. He presently consults on governance, danger and compliance, enterprise information administration, and information privateness and safety points in Washington, DC. He additionally writes with Bora about at present’s high cybersecurity and compliance points.

Writer’s notice: The views expressed on this visitor publish are solely these of the contributor and don’t essentially replicate these of Tripwire, Inc.

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Strong Authentication Considerations for Digital, Cloud-First Businesses