Access & Identity Management—Better in the Cloud?

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Today’s fast-changing digital environment is throwing identity and authentication challenges at us from every direction. Remote workforces, mobile apps, the Internet of Things (IoT) and increasingly complex data theft schemes just keep upping cybersecurity risks in every type of organization.

While about $74 billion is spent on security annually, a study from IBM and the Ponemon Institute reports that the average cost of a data breach globally was $3.86 million in 2018, up 6.4% from $3.62 million in 2017. As these numbers show, if cybersecurity isn’t at the top of your C-Suite to-do list, it’s time to put it there.

81% of breaches are caused by mishandling credentials. The financial ramifications are manifest: from 2011-2016, identity thieves stole over $107 billion in the U.S., according to a 2017 Identity Fraud Study.

Cloud authentication offers the most flexible, cost-effective solution. Among the factors that contribute to today’s authentication woes, here are just two that point toward this solution:

  1. Complex IT environments: Across the board, organizations are grappling with the downsides of implementing a crisscross of hardware and software apps from multiple cybersecurity technology vendors. Interoperability problems; equipment, implementation and maintenance costs; operational inefficiencies and overloaded IT staff are all driving organizations to look for identity and authentication solutions through cloud service providers.
  2. Increasing user access demands: New digital technologies and apps have shifted the balance of power to users. Consumers demand the convenience of self-use applications in almost every area of their personal and professional lives from whatever device they choose. Internal and remote user groups have their own set of access challenges. With the rapid pace of change, scalability and flexibility continue to be a problem. Again, the cloud offers potential solutions.

The move to shift identity and access management (IAM) systems to the cloud is here, with the promise to resolve many modern-day security challenges:

  • Cost-Efficiency: The cloud simplifies IT by eliminating the need to install, maintain and update on-premise authentication hardware, software and maintenance. There are many benefits, including the reduction of IT infrastructure spending and better operational efficiencies. This ultimately frees IT staff for more value-added responsibilities.
  • Compliance: Organizations can reduce their exposure to GDPR, SEC and other non-compliance penalties with cloud authentication services that automatically update to comply with new privacy and data protection regulations.
  • Consolidation: Cloud services can host many applications at once, with companies like HID Global consolidating microservices for both internal and external users on a single platform. This helps solve interoperability issues and delivers a cohesive authentication structure.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: A subscription-based cloud service offers the flexibility and scalability to grow with your company and adapt to the changing needs of employees, partners, vendors and customers—whether on an office computer, using a mobile device or gaining entry to a secured physical location.

When exploring cloud-based platforms and applications, choose one that takes a security-first approach. HID Global is a leader in subscription-delivered, cloud-based authentication including the DigitalPersona® multi-factor authentication solution and Credential Management Service (cloud-based Smart Card & PKI).

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Jeff Carpenter is Director of Cloud Authentication at HID Global. In his 15+ years in cybersecurity, Jeff has held positions with several top tier cybersecurity and technology companies including Crossmatch and RSA, a Dell Technologies company. He holds both a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and a Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) designation.