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The Business Need for Authentication
In basic terms, authentication is the process of determining whether someone or something is, in fact, who or what it is declared to be. The simplest method of authentication, which we are all familiar with in our daily working lives, is the act of entering a username and password when we first attempt to sign on to a computer. This is a very simple process which only requires the computer user to remember the password. As such, it provides a level of security which is adequate for some purposes, but does not provide sufficient protection for more complex or sensitive requirements. Passwords can be ‘cracked’ by a variety of methods, and therefore does not offer adequate security for things like financial transaction systems or privileged information.
The concept of multiple factors of authentication has been around for many years. The three regulatory approved authentication factors are:
- Something the user knows – for example, password, PIN
- Something the user has – ATM card, token
- Something the user is – biometric characteristic e.g. fingerprint
The use of two-factor authentication is now commonplace. Banks use chip and PIN cards for ATM machines and organisations often use ‘tokens’ as a second factor of authentication for accessing computer systems and networks remotely. These solutions provide an additional layer of security, which is appropriate given the nature of the systems and data which is then made available to the user.
More sophisticated, and even more secure solutions can be built using biometric methods such as fingerprint or iris recognition.
The key is to strike the correct balance between providing appropriate protection levels in a cost effective manner, whilst minimising the impact and any inconvenience on the user.
Why work with Network Defence?
As with most IT security matters, the key for organisations is to strike the correct balance between providing appropriate protection levels in a cost effective manner, whilst minimising the impact and any inconvenience on the user. If you need to ensure flexibility for the way in which your IT systems are accessed, without compromising security or increasing costs, talk to Network Defence.
Network Defence has designed and implemented authentication solutions for many clients – protecting existing investments as well as improving future data protection strategies.
Call Network Defence to talk about your requirements
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