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Streamlining Security: Simplifying Modern Authentication Methods for Success

Security breaches, data leaks, and cyber attacks are a constant concern for a business of any size in today’s digital landscape, which is why implementing robust identity authentication measures is crucial. They can help protect sensitive information and keep it out of the reach of cyber criminals, but managing multiple authentication methods can be complex and time-consuming. By simplifying authentication methods, firms can make their cyber defences more efficient and more secure.

What is Modern Authentication?

When it comes to authentication, there are two schools of thought. Basic authentication is the most traditional method of ensuring identity authentication. It’s primarily used in HTTP-based communication, and for years it was the most common way of giving users access to files or applications. This can be done with usernames and passwords, but these kinds of authentication methods weren’t designed to support access to more modern solutions like cloud-based services.

This is where modern authentication methods come in – they take a much more layered approach to authentication. These require more information from the user before they’re granted access – more than a password, which could be stolen or guessed. They often require one-time passcodes, which grant users temporary access, or biometric data such as fingerprints, that are much more difficult to fake. Our cyber security partners at TrustBuilder offer a range of multi-factor authentication measures, making it easier to validate a user’s identity. They specialise in customer identity and access management (CIAM), helping clients to protect their customers’ data and ensuring a more seamless customer journey. With single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and regulatory compliance, CIAM helps businesses to foster brand loyalty and trust. Modern authentication is an umbrella term for a multi-functional authentication method that’s far more secure, allowing administrators to tailor their requirements to their specific requirements.

The Benefits of Modern Authentication

Modern authentication methods are far more secure than legacy authentication methods, and require minimal time to set up and implement. As identity authentication management (IAM) specialists, we understand the importance of identity security – as well as setting up your identity security solutions, we can seamlessly integrate them with your existing solutions, and monitor your network around the clock.

Modern authentication gives you far more ways of securely validating users, rather than just relying on passwords. Requiring users to provide multiple pieces of evidence to verify their identity makes it harder for unauthorised individuals to gain access to your sensitive data. By consolidating and setting up various authentication methods in your network, you can reduce the complexity of your authentication. These methods ensure you’re offering an enhanced user experience. Passwords could be forgotten or lost, making the login experience frustrating. Modern authentication, however, streamlines the process by incorporating multiple authorisation methods. It also eliminates the need to remember complex passwords, making authorisation more user-friendly.

Another benefit is the ability to provide secure access across multiple devices and platforms. Modern authentication methods support a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables, allowing users to access their accounts from anywhere. Services such as those provided by our partner, Cyolo, allow users to connect securely to your network whether they’re on or off site. These can be integrated into various applications and online services, ensuring consistent security standards across different platforms. Cyolo’s cyber security solutions are used in every sector, especially operational technology (OT), which has been left increasingly vulnerable to evolving cyber threats – our recent blog covers some of the modern authentication methods used to secure OT networks.

The Most Common Methods

The average employee in a modern workplace can switch between critical applications over 1,000 times a day. Modern authentication methods use established authorisation protocols, and we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly-used protocols below:

OAuth 2.0

Oauth 2.0 is an industry-standard protocol for authorisation, allowing users to grant access to their resources on one website to another website without sharing their credentials. OAuth 2.0 enables the use of access tokens, reducing the risk of password theft and providing users with a more seamless experience. Our partners at CyberArk support OAuth 2.0 – their CyberArk Identity solution allows you to easily customise who can access your network.

JSON Web Tokens (JWT)

The JSON Web Token (JWT) is one of the most commonly-used token formats, and uses OAuth. This access token is used for both authentication and authorisation. As it’s compact and self-contained, it requires less bandwidth and storage space, and can be used to make web and mobile applications much more efficient. JWTs support a wide variety of programming languages, making it easy to integrate them into different cyber security frameworks, and can securely transmit information between separate parties as a JSON object.

OpenID Connect (OIDC)

Like JWTs, OpenID Connect (OIDC) is built upon OAuth 2.0. OIDC provides a more standardised and secure approach to authentication and authorisation, enhancing security, user experience, and interoperability across different applications and platforms. It uses JWTS to ensure the confidentiality of identity data, preventing unauthorised access to user information. OIDC also supports Single Sign-On (SSO) scenarios – once a user has been authenticated, they can access multiple applications and services without having to re-enter their credentials. Not only does this improve user experience, but it reduces the chance of people reusing passwords.

Modern authentication methods such as OAuth 2.0, JWTs, and OIDC provide a range of benefits, simplifying user experience while keeping data secure. By turning to modern authentication methods, today’s business can strengthen their cyber defences and protect their data from unauthorised access. These methods make it more challenging for cyber criminals while also allowing authorised users to access their accounts from anywhere, at any time.

Whatever solution you’re looking for, we can help. The experts at Infosec K2K can offer you specialist guidance, and help you find the product that’s the best fit for you.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.

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The Importance of Having a Comprehensive Overview of Permissions in Your Cloud Environment

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, more and more companies are turning to cloud providers to host their infrastructure, applications, and services. As organisations embrace the benefits of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Identity as a Service (IDaaS), and other similar cloud offerings, it’s become imperative to understand the intricacies of permissions within the cloud environment. Unlike traditional on-premise infrastructure, where companies have well-defined rules and granular control over privileges and permissions, managing your permissions in the cloud presents unique challenges. In order to ensure your cyber defences are as strong as possible, it’s important you effectively define and manage permissions across your cloud environment.

Understanding the Cloud

The cloud offers many advantages to businesses – not only is it more flexible and scalable, but it increases performance and helps them to reduce their IT costs at the same time. Despite these benefits, there are still some disadvantages to moving your company’s infrastructure and assets to the cloud. It can be complex managing permissions in a cloud environment – with the ability to rapidly provision resources, applications, databases, and a wide range of other cloud services, organisations often find themselves contending with intricate permission structures.

Users may find themselves having distinct roles, with access rights only to specific data and functions. In contrast to on-premises infrastructures, where companies can establish meticulous rules and policies for privileges and permissions within their network, it can be difficult to achieve that same level of control in the cloud – particularly when multiple cloud providers and services are involved. If companies want to ensure they’re minimising security risks and ensure compliance with the latest regulatory requirements, it’s crucial to have a clear and thorough overview of their permissions.

The Risks of Excessive Permissions

Failing to have visibility into permissions within your cloud environment can result in significant security risks. According to Gartner, 75% of security failures result from inadequate management of identities, access and privileges – that figure was just 50% in 2020. An organisation with unused or excessive permissions can pave the way for unauthorised users to gain access to sensitive data or critical systems, which can lead to data breaches. It’s essential that businesses identify and eliminate anyone with unnecessary permissions, and limit their access to the bare minimum. Automated tools and services play a vital role in maintaining a comprehensive overview, and helping businesses ensure only authorised users can access critical data. At Infosec K2K, we specialise in offering complete identity management solutions, and can work with you and your team to protect your data.

A recent report by our partners at CyberArk revealed that 58% of businesses had reported ex-employees saving confidential work documents before they left. Organisations should take care to remove access permissions of any employees leaving the business – cyber criminals (which can often include dissatisfied or disgruntled employees) will be counting on an authorised account slipping through the cracks. Just one over privileged or wrongly provisioned account is all it takes to create a vulnerability in your cyber defences.

The Benefits of Permissions Management

One of the primary reasons why having a comprehensive overview of permissions is important is to maintain compliance with industry regulations and data privacy laws. Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) often mandate strict control over data access and require organisations to demonstrate accountability for data protection. By having a comprehensive overview of permissions, companies can ensure compliance, and only grant access to the individuals with a legitimate need for the data.

Having a comprehensive overview of permissions also aids in troubleshooting and incident response. If and when an issue arises, being able to quickly identify the permissions assigned to relevant users and applications can help your cyber security teams to identify the problem, isolate it, and resolve it efficiently. By narrowing down the scope of investigation, businesses can save time and resources. Moreover, in the event of a security incident or data breach, having a clear understanding of permissions can help to determine the extent of the breach and any affected resources, as well as how to avoid the same kind of breach happening again.

Achieving a Comprehensive Overview

For organisations looking to gain more control over permissions in their cloud environment, it’s important that they choose cloud providers offering robust permission management capabilities. These providers have features that allow fine-grained control over everything from access rights and user roles to permissions. One example is our partner, CyberArk. By using their Cloud Entitlements Manager, users can gain visibility across their whole cloud network from a centralised platform. Users are able to map permissions across their organisation’s cloud environment, identify unused permissions, minimise their attack surface and more – letting the right people in and keeping attackers out.

At Infosec K2K, our international team have years of experience and expertise in identity security, and understand that cyber security is an ever-evolving industry. If you’re looking to mitigate your cyber risk with identity security, we recommend conducting regular reviews of permissions. With Our identity access management (IAM) assessments, we can identify any gaps in your defences, ensure there are no users with excessive permissions, and remove them if necessary.

As businesses increasingly rely on cloud services, it’s crucial to prioritise the management of permissions. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of permissions and adopting effective management practices, businesses can mitigate security risks and safeguard their sensitive data and critical systems. Organisations should ensure they have as much control as possible over permissions and conduct regular reviews to eliminate unnecessary access rights – by prioritising permission management in the cloud, businesses of all sizes can ensure a secure and efficient cloud environment – protecting themselves and their customers.

Whatever solution you’re looking for, we can help. The experts at Infosec K2K can offer you specialist guidance, and help you find the product that’s the best fit for you.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.