People Access: The Weakest Link in Security

April 16, 2014
| |
2 min read

Businesses these days are going through transformations to stay ahead in this highly competitive world. They are rapidly adapting to new technological trends centered around mobile, cloud and social so that they can serve their customers more effectively. Customers expect higher value, undivided attention and prompt responses from their vendors. To enhance the customer experience, employees, partners and contractors need to access business resources anywhere anytime. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs are becoming more a mandate than a choice in order to improve employee productivity. These trends are making the IT infrastructure more and more complex. Safeguarding access to critical business resources has become a major area of concern in this era of mobile, cloud and social interactions.

People: Users Are Still the Weakest Link

To make matters worse, new and more advanced threats are evolving on a regular basis. Operationally more sophisticated cyber attacks are regularly threatening to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or to initiate fraudulent transactions. Social media has become fertile ground for gathering intelligence about users before planning cyber attacks. Security is considered to be only so strong as its weakest link; these days, the weakest link, for obvious reasons, is people — the users who access the business resources.

Learn how to Stay ahead of insider threats with predictive, intelligent security

Therefore, in this mobile, cloud and social era, enterprises must extend user access and identity management to everything. According to Gartner, by 2020, 70 percent of enterprises will use attribute-based access control as the dominant mechanism to protect critical assets, and 80 percent of user access will be shaped by new mobile and non-PC architectures that service all identity types regardless of origin. With the growing adoption of mobile, adaptive authentication and fine-grained authorization, traditional Web access management is no longer sufficient. Businesses now need a broad, integrated and powerful access management solution; and the identity and access management market is evolving accordingly.

Tightening Budgets — and Restrictions

Businesses are also concerned about managing cost, enhancing productivity and simplifying compliance. Help desk calls due to forgotten passwords can be expensive, so it’s important to reduce the frequency of password resets. Similarly, application lockouts and slow access to applications hamper productivity. Ensuring no account lockouts and fast access to information, even from mobile devices, is essential. On top of that, compliance mandates are increasing. Fine-grained audit logs, session management and proper insights into user behaviors enhance security controls and help in demonstrating compliance.

Access Management Answers

In today’s multiperimeter world, it is crucial that we address all the access-related concerns in a simplified but powerful manner and deploy an access management solution that combines access management capabilities for both Web and mobile. Whereas software has hitherto been a popular deployment model for access management, we now have appliances options that can be easily deployed and managed. The appliances models are proving to be more effective because they reduce total cost of ownership and time to value. At the same time, these newer solutions include advanced mobile authentication and identity assurance technologies, such as fingerprint biometric identification features. Businesses are adapting such solutions to reduce help desk cost, simplify compliance, manage staff’s social networking activities and enhance customer experience.

Satyakam Jyotiprakash
Portfolio Marketing Manager, Security Operations and Response Solutions, IBM Security

Satyakam Jyotiprakash is the worldwide Portfolio Marketing Manager for IBM Security Operations and Response (SOAR) solutions. In his previous role, he was th...
read more