The Evolution of Corporate Authentication

Many industry experts believe that existing authentication and encryption methods are adequate to keep sensitive information under wraps. If the myriad of breaches from last year taught us anything, it’s that this is not true; there are chinks in the armor of firewalls, VPNS, and DMZs.

Hackers continue to intrude and compromise data, proving that legacy technology is failing. It’s critical for organizations to look beyond what has worked in the past and stop leaving applications exposed to the public internet.

Threats are constantly evolving and 2017 has seen some of the biggest names take hits, both financially and reputationally. From the infamous Equifax leak to the Merck hack, it seems that no one is safe when relying on old systems and methods.

While it’s easy to feel overconfident if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid this type of problem, complacency can harm your business. To avoid the massive fines and “dings” on the brand, you should seek a more modern solution. 
 
Every step of the data lifecycle needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to your cybersecurity efforts. First, it’s important to close incoming ports in the firewall and DMZ so that critical services aren’t exposed. Additionally, when passwords are leaked, single factor authentication fails so implement two-factor or multi-factor methods to further secure accounts.

User authentication, such as username and password verification, or one-time-token verification, should occur before allowing access to the requested service/application. This might sound simple, but is often overlooked.

Today, most organizations simply provide access and then authenticate. It’s so important to use a solution that separates the two tiers. You wouldn’t allow someone in your home before knowing who they are! Treat your data the same way. 
 
It’s also important to choose a solution that supports robust authentication options. Different organizations and teams will need different things – LDAP, SAML, NoPost, IAM, etc. – so it’s best to prepare by selecting one that offers options. This also future-proofs your system, ensuring that if you want to upgrade or change the process, you have an infrastructure that can support the transition seamlessly. 

Often, companies end up needing two or more authentication solutions covering internal and external users. Picking a platform that supports multiple methods and can be integrated with other security systems reduces complexity.

For example, a graphic design consultant doesn’t need the same level of access or security as someone working on mergers and acquisitions. Having different tiers, based on degrees of data sensitivity, protects your information and also means a less unwieldy solution for employees who don’t need to deal with critical applications on a day-to-day basis. 
 
Sensitive data is perpetually at risk of being compromised, as technology to defend companies improves, hackers’ tools and methods evolve too. With perpetual cyber threats like malware, data exfiltration, leakage, and fraud threatening companies of every size across industries, it is crucial to keep security solutions as up-to-date as possible. Enterprises require secure access for internal and external facing applications, and the systems should not slow down day-to-day activities. 

To remain efficient and secure, companies should embrace Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) solutions that bring a fresh approach to security. Corporations have been trying to protect their data the same way for years, and hackers figured this out a long time ago.

No matter how many layers of security are added, they’ve proven their ability to circumvent legacy perimeter protection. Rather than statically exposing applications to the internet and then working hard to ensure unauthorized users don’t bypass authentication layers, SDPs hide services from the outside world until it is absolutely necessary to expose them to a user that has been fully authenticated, protecting the entire data lifecycle. 

No single solution is going to permanently protect your data and services, but thankfully, the whole cybersecurity industry is constantly innovating to counter new threats. Having more than one product in place can be helpful, as long as you're not just creating a situation where one system collides with another. When it comes to cybersecurity, stay on top of the latest improvements and never grow complacent.

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