Clavister Blog Staff

Mind the security gap: why multi-factor authentication works

In Blog post by Clavister Blog Staff

There’s a gap in your organization – one that could potentially do a lot of damage to your operations, the integrity of your data and even your business bottom line. It exists between your IT team and your end users.

A new report from the Ponemon Institute explores this gap in detail – and claims that it is widening.  For example, the report’s findings include the fact that while just over half of IT practitioners believe that IT security policies are being properly enforced across the organization (still a low proportion, we would argue), only 35% of end users agree.

Similarly, 52% of personnel working in IT or infosecurity believe that the company takes adequate steps to enforce good security practices, whereas only 39% of end users agree. While 61% of IT professionals believe that protecting critical corporate information is a critical priority, only 38% of end users feel the same way.

Clearly, there is a significant gap of communication and understanding here. Perhaps part of this is to be expected. IT professionals should, quite naturally, have a more sophisticated and in-depth understanding of the cybersecurity landscape and their own employer’s IT security posture. But part of it is a big problem. End-users who don’t appreciate the gravity of the cybersecurity threat, or the importance of good cybersecurity practices, are likely to become cybersecurity threats themselves.

The use of passwords to access critical resources is a prime example of this. Typically, organizations depend on their end users to follow good password practices – to use unique, complex passwords for their corporate accounts, and to change them regularly. But can such organizations guarantee that all their staff members are following these procedures? Probably not.

This is one reason why at Clavister we believe it is important for organizations of all shapes and sizes to move towards multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA works by introducing an additional layer of verification into the standard username/password login process, by generating a one-use token that is sent to the user as they login. The token must be entered as well as the password to gain access.

This dramatically strengthens the username/password login process in two ways. First, it makes it far more complex, so that even if a user is logging in with ‘Password123’ or even worse, a default password, their credentials are very difficult to intercept or guess. Second, it makes the login process time-sensitive, so that if a malicious hacker does somehow manage to intercept the credentials, they have only a very short amount of time to make use of them.

It’s a solution that makes a dramatic difference to security – and it is precisely why we recently joined forces with MFA specialist PhenixID. Now, with Clavister MFA solutions, customers can deploy a complete, end-to-end service with truly robust and flexible embedded security. In turn, they can begin to help plug that security gap between organizations’ IT teams and their end users.