Passwords have long been recognized as insufficient by security experts, but technology is finally providing some possible alternative authentication methods that businesses may explore to keep their data safe.
As the number of cyber-attacks rises across all industries, CISOs should continue to strike a delicate balance between protecting their organization’s systems and deploying security measures that don’t aggravate or disrupt people.
This is especially true when it comes to user authentication and password management. Cybercriminals can readily circumvent authentication requirements if they are too basic. It is, however, far too complicated, and employees will simply ignore or try to get around it. After all, it’s human nature to put convenience ahead of security.
Here are four basic techniques that can help businesses with password issues.
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Remember that user irritation is caused by security friction
Hackers are successfully targeting businesses using digital identities, which are the credentials needed to access resources on a network or the internet. Complex passwords (16+ characters, unique, including symbols and digits, etc.) are frequently used to protect networks in order to counteract this danger because they are more difficult for cybercriminals to hack. Implementing complicated passwords, however beneficial, is more difficult stated than done because they are difficult for users to remember and retain. This is exacerbated by the fact that employees are increasingly using a variety of programs and devices at work.
This practice’s security ramifications are all too real. The Colonial Pipeline hack, in 2021 the most high-profile cyber-attack, was centered on password reuse. According to reports, attackers gained access to the organization’s computers by using a VPN account used by an employee. The employee had used the same password several times, and their password was included in a batch for sale on the dark web as a result of an unrelated disclosure.
Incorporate security measures into end-user workflows with single sign-on
Organizations should use single sign-on (SSO) technology to incorporate compliance and security into their workflows rather than expecting individuals to memorize and manually enter complex passwords each time they log in to workstations and applications. SSO is user authentication and identity management technique that eliminates the need for manual password entry by allowing access to apps, systems, and data with a single login. This not only allows enterprises to establish tighter security but also allows them to do so without affecting user productivity.
Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA)
SSO could/should be used with MFA in instances when utmost security is required, which requires end-users to prove their identity in various ways before being permitted access to a system. While elaborate password restrictions improve security, they are frequently insufficient because passwords remain the primary means of accessing network data. MFA adds an extra layer of security to businesses, which may be further reinforced by limiting the authentication methods that can be used based on specified workflows.
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Make security inconspicuous
It might be difficult to strike the elusive balance between security and efficiency, but SSO and MFA can work together to prevent unauthorized network access while offering a seamless and compliant user experience.
Through no-click access to apps, systems, and data, security becomes transparent to the end-user, while easy authentication techniques like hands-free authentication and push token notification improve security without introducing obstacles to access. End users will experience less irritation, spend less time phoning the IT help desk for password resets, and CISOs will face less risk.
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