SecuritySecurity Management

Fear Of Hacks Crippling Business

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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IT departments are struggling to get the most out of mobile technology due to fear of data breaches

Companies are finding it difficult to meet demands for greater mobility as 92 percent of IT departments worldwide still restrict users from accessing sensitive corporate data and resources from mobile devices.

This is according to a recent global survey of 900 IT decision makers by digital security specialist Gemalto. Despite almost all organisations (98 percent) having users who require mobile or remote access, 95 percent of IT departments are facing obstacles to increased user mobility in their organisation, the primary being security concerns.

Breach

The 2015 Global Authentication and Identity Access Management Index reveals that almost all respondents (94 percent) are concerned that their organisation will be breached or hacked as a result of credential theft or compromise. This is exacerbated by the rise in mobile endpoints within organisations, as most organisations reported to have, on average, two mobile end points per user and managing three sets of credentials per user. Additionally, on average, one out of every five (20 percent) IT support tickets are resulting from lost or forgotten usernames and passwords.

data security breachIn an effort to overcome the security challenges around mobility, the majority of IT departments (86 percent) plan to implement two-factor authentication for access to cloud applications. Currently, 38 percent of users utilise two-factor authentication, this is expected to rise to over half (51 percent) of users using it in two years. More than half (57 percent) already use two-factor authentication to secure external users’ access to resources, indicating the varied use of the technology. Almost all (92 percent) respondents currently have at least one application protected by two-factor authentication, with cloud applications, web portals and VPNs among the top three apps protected.

As IT continues to look to two-factor authentication to deal with the credentials crunch, the vast majority (91 percent) of respondents are seeking to do this by using cloud-based authentication-as-a-service and managing their organisation’s two-factor authentication centrally. By having the ability to implement uniform policies that address security threats in a consistent way, two-factor authentication can at the same time streamline access to numerous applications. In addition, cloud efficiencies are a critical factor in being able to deploy two-factor authentication across multiple use cases and implement solutions quickly and efficiently. 90 percent of respondents view cloud delivery as a key consideration in the purchasing process of a strong authentication solution.

François Lasnier, senior VP for Identity Protection at Gemalto, said: “The pressure is on for IT departments to accommodate demands for greater mobility as employees crave new and flexible approaches to work. Organisations that are not open to this change are very likely to be inhibiting business productivity.

“Users are likely to do what it takes to get the job done, with or without permission, so when corporate resources are scattered across different sites, the need for strong authentication and as-a-service delivery will serve vital functions in making this happen securely.”

In doing so, organisations will be better placed to protect the identities of their users, without sacrificing on productivity or data protection, according to Lasnier.

He added: “The growing use of cloud applications and mobile devices within organisations, combined with rising threats, and the need to reduce costs, require entirely new considerations for access control. Clearly there is an immediate need for authentication and access management solutions that can help organisations solve these challenges.”

Garrett Bekker, Senior Security Analyst at 451 Research, said: “Organisations recognise the need to scale security to protect as many on-premises and cloud applications as possible, especially when sourcing a two-factor authentication solution.

“The survey findings suggest that the choice of two-factor authentication will depend on the solution’s ability to provide centralised management, as well as secure access to the widest range of applications.”

Some of the additional key findings of the survey include:

Importance of mobility

· Almost all (97 percent) respondents’ organisations recognise it is important to offer mobility to employees in their work practices.
· The number of users utilising tokens for mobility in respondents’ organisations looks likely to increase across the board – on average, 37 percent of users in respondents’ organisations are currently using them for mobility with this figure expected to increase to 46 percent on average, in two years’ time.

The role of cloud in the purchasing decision

· Cloud is also significant factor when it comes to choosing the preferred delivery model of two-factor authentication with 90 percent agreeing that cloud delivery as a key consideration in the purchasing process of a strong authentication solution.
· When it comes to the final purchasing decision however, over half the organisations reveal that this decision lies with the CIO, with the CSO, CCO, CEO and CFO all likely to be involved in the process as well.
· The total cost of ownership is, according to 20 percent or respondents, the most significant consideration when deciding which two-factor authentication solution to select

Security threats and compliance

· Almost all (95 percent) respondents think that it is important that their organisation has the ability to produce a single audit trail of access events taking place throughout different resources
· The vast majority (95 percent) of respondents think that two-factor authentication can help their organisation comply with data protection regulations and pass security audits

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