Beyond Passwords: Identity at the Center of Modern Security

Remember the good ol’ days, when you arrived at work, used your password to log in and were granted access to the company’s information systems?  Those days are numbered. Today’s workforce is on the move. We’re working from where we are, across multiple devices and often multiple platforms. Our global economy operates 24/7 from behind the wheel of a delivery van, in a cockpit, on a manufacturing line or at a table in the local coffee shop. Data is in the cloud and often shared by multiple partners and vendors.

However, with greater speed and access, comes greater risk. The Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon logged more than 53,300 data security incidents and 2,216 data breaches in 65 countries in 2018 alone. Today’s cybercriminals are smarter than ever. They are using machine learning, AI and social engineering to gain access to confidential data that they then can monetize. Passwords and other current forms of computer security are simply no longer up to the task of protecting our information in today’s networked world.

Enter, your identity.

In this cloud-based, mobile world, identity – the set of unique factors that differentiate you from anyone else – is central to the creation of an effective security program, allowing the introduction of password-less authentication, and identity management must be a core building block.

Today, multi-step verification systems can automatically confirm a person’s identity, role, risk status and authorization to access various classes of company information. Based on their identity profile, people have access to the information they need when they need it. Data security measures are tracked and logged to meet organizational requirements and regulations governing data security and confidentiality. In a comprehensive solution, documents and databases contain individual keys that allow data to be stored anywhere, while also ensuring that data goes only to those who should have it. Any change in behavior or attempts to access restricted data triggers an alert.

Of course, anyone who has struggled to recover a lost password or gain access to a stubborn computer system on deadline may wince at the idea of added layers of protection, no matter how necessary. Security must always be balanced with productivity.

The good news is that modern authentication methods make it easier to get that balance right. Accurate and reliable access control simplifies and automates a user’s ability to securely join a network and reach the applications and information they require, whether they’re an employee, contractor, third-party partner or client. Compliance with governance requirements is logged and documented in real-time. And system administrators can secure, control, manage and monitor privileged access to critical assets, denying cybercriminals the ability to cause catastrophic damage to a business.

Adjusting to the requirements of today’s security environment requires this new approach. In the past, firewalls and complicated password schemes were the last line of defense between our data and bad actors. Today, we can be protected by a robust multi-layered and comprehensive approach to data security, one that actually encourages our users and third-party collaborators to safely work together, and one based on the thing that sets each of us apart: our own identity.


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