Guess Who's Accessing Your Network?

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The relentless news of security breaches is merely proof that organizations are fighting a constant battle to keep their data safe from phishing, hacks and identity theft.

On top of this, organizations are subject to the security of their supply chain, partners and contractors, and the need to verify the legitimacy of these third parties. Organizations need to establish who’s who on their network to avoid leaving gaps, which could enable hackers entry through a weak link.

Businesses must provide an additional layer of defence in order to protect sensitive corporate data from the threats posed by potentially less security-minded third parties, and the risks they face should hackers find a loophole in their existing security processes.

Once hackers gain access to the network, many of the traditional perimeter-focused security measures such as firewalls and anti-virus will have already been bypassed, enabling cyber-criminals to infiltrate the network and access intellectual property.

As companies grow, working with more clients and an increasing number of partners, they can suddenly find themselves in the middle of a complex supply chain. Allowing them to access your network increases the likelihood of a cyber-criminal doing exactly the same thing, and with access to one set of data, the chances are they will be able to filter through into the network of every business with which you are connected. With this in mind, having a complicated supply chain, or being part of someone else's requires a different approach to IT security.

Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire solution for preventing breaches, but authentication and identity management through access privileges for third party users can help protect valuable information.

Third-party access to corporate data is an inevitability, and in many cases, a necessity, but it shouldn’t be a game of “Guess Who”? Knowing who is who, who has access to what data, and the preferred access mechanism is crucial. Businesses need to recognize that their security is only as strong as the weakest link, and they not only need to establish access profiles and policies. When it comes to identity and access management, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an ideal way to prevent unauthorized users from accessing corporate data.

Attackers are relentless. They will phish, scam, and social engineer both end-users and privileged users to infiltrate organizations. Once inside, they look for opportunities to elevate privilege and appropriate resources. As such, password-based security is no longer effective as a standalone process, managing access privileges, and authenticating users with more robust multi-factor authentication is essential and needs to be rolled out across all users, apps and IT resources, including cloud and on-premises apps, VPN, servers and privilege elevation.

By identifying the user, their device, location, and credentials through MFA, businesses can establish if their requests are all valid and appropriate in order to safeguard enterprise systems and data. These controls can allow businesses to detect and revoke access when inappropriate activity occurs.

If an unapproved third party is accessing credit card data for example, red flags would be raised. With policies applied and enforced by restricting certain access privileges third parties can have access to only the required data and applications without affecting productivity, nor putting data at risk.

For some organizations, they may feel that the responsibility remains with the third party, but if cyber-criminals find a weak link in their security it can be detrimental to the entire network.

It's safer to put the work in now to secure third-parties before a breach occurs, rather than to deal with the repercussions of a breach that could have potentially been avoided.

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