Security vs. Usability

Security vs. usability – the debate has been around for quite a while now. Which one would you prioritize? Would you consider convenience more important than security when it comes to the identity management of consumers? What are your users more inclined to? Is there a way to find a balance between the two? Continue reading Security vs. Usability

What is ADFS and why do you need it?

ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) is an SSO solution created by Microsoft to authenticate users logging into applications which are incompatible with Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) and Active Directory (AD).

ADFS provides organizations with the flexibility needed to simplify the user experience while improving the control that admins have over user accounts across owned as well as third-party applications. Since ADFS implements SSO, your employees are required to remember only one set of credentials for all the applications. Continue reading What is ADFS and why do you need it?

Customer Identity and Access Management – How is it different from IAM?

For organizations, it is crucial to ensure data security and, therefore, IAM has become a crucial part of every network security effort. Identity and access management at the organization-level – mostly include IAM solutions for enterprise applications used by organizations to authenticate and validate employees and a relatively small number of users. But how different is the situation with B2C businesses and other organizations who have huge numbers of internal and external users using their online services every day? Continue reading Customer Identity and Access Management – How is it different from IAM?

User Lifecycle Management made easy with Akku

The employee lifecycle is an HR model that identifies the different stages an employee goes through during his/her stint at an organization. Employee lifecycle management, therefore, involves the steps taken by HR in optimizing the flow of the cycle. Typically, the employee lifecycle involves the following stages: recruiting, onboarding, training and development, retention, and offboarding. 

In modern organizations, where the employee is also a user (of one or more applications), a similar user lifecycle begins at the onboarding stage and continues until the employee exits the organization.

When it comes to the efforts involved in the user lifecycle management, both the HR and the IT teams have roles to play. The process involves creating user accounts and user roles, assigning permissions, setting up custom restrictions, continually monitoring user activity, modifying user roles, keeping employees compliant, disseminating mandatory and relevant training material, and finally, removing access when they offboard.

Here’s how Akku can make user lifecycle management easy for you:

Onboarding

With Akku’s single sign-on admin dashboard, multiple user accounts to different applications can be created and assigned to a single set of credentials for the user, all in a few clicks. Through this dashboard, user roles and permissions can also be assigned easily, saving time and improving efficiency at the onboarding stage. 

With Akku for user lifecycle management, the organization can ensure user account provisioning on the employee’s very first day at the organization so that new employees can hit the ground running.

User Management & Usage Analytics

Akku provides administrators with granular control over user access to data and apps. When employees are promoted or moved internally within the organization to newer roles, it only takes minutes to reassign permissions to existing apps or add new apps into the employee’s kitty.

By checking a user’s real time access and use of each assigned application, Akku also helps to reassign permissions or remove accounts that may not be necessary for a particular user. Akku also allows IT to more easily conduct audits by keeping an audit trail in reports that specify when users were provided or revoked certain levels of access and who has assigned these permissions.

Compliance & Communication Management

Akku enables you to keep your users updated, well trained and compliant through effective communication with its Internal Communication feature. Through this feature, HR and IT administrators can share information and updates, either addressing them to all users within the organization or with specific departments alone. The same feature can also be used to disseminate training material to upskill and qualify users for a future-ready workforce.

Not only does Akku help in disseminating information and training material, it also allows for tracking user viewing and consumption of these communications.

Deprovisioning

During the course of an employee’s stay at the organization, he/she may have accessed and used different corporate applications. When the employee leaves the organization, it is critical to revoke access to all of those applications promptly. If this activity is missed, even for a single account in a single application, the organization is risking compromise and misuse of organizational data.

With Akku’s single sign-on dashboard offering a complete and comprehensive view of all accounts and applications accessed by a user, deprovisioning of access to all of them is only clicks away. 

Akku offers a comprehensive solution to corporate identity lifecycle management. To know more about the features and applications of Akku, get in touch with us today!

Healthcare Data, HIPAA Compliance, and Akku

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been effective in the USA since 1996. 

The Act actually has five different section titles, namely Health Insurance Reform, Administrative Simplification, Tax-Related Health Provisions, Application and Enforcement of Group Health Plan Requirements, and Revenue Offsets – however, the mention of ‘HIPAA Compliance’ most often refers to compliance to the second title – Administration Simplification. 

This is the most challenging aspect of the HIPAA Act, as it comes with strict regulations on protecting the data of patients in an industry that is often a major target for data breaches and malicious activity. Identity and access management across applications used in a healthcare facility, therefore, becomes critical to HIPAA compliance.

Here’s how Akku can help in ensuring data privacy and preventing both outsider and insider attacks on patient data, and, ultimately, compliance to HIPAA’s stringent regulations.

Protecting your data

  • Akku strengthens security around the login process by allowing you to set up and enforce a strong password policy as well as multi-factor authentication to reinforce password-based security
  • It also employs a custom salted-hash encryption methodology – a combination of salting and hashing techniques – for user credentials and data

Preventing unauthorized access

  • Akku allows you to exercise tight control over which users have access to what applications and data, so that access is not available to users who may not require it
  • It prevents accidental and malicious data breaches by allowing access to applications only from whitelisted network IP addresses and devices
  • The system also automatically blocks suspicious access attempts at abnormal times or from unexpected locations, and also enables the set up of time-based and location-based restrictions

Ensuring privacy and accountability

  • Every Akku implementation is set up independently in a separate server instance, so privacy on the cloud is ensured
  • Akku provides administrators with complete visibility by maintaining detailed logs maintained for every activity taking place across the apps and in the server

Beyond HIPAA

In addition to helping your healthcare facility become HIPAA compliant, Akku also makes it easy to set up integrations across your Hospital Information System (HIS), Lab Information System (LIS), Patient Management System (PMS) and more. This, in turn, improves collaboration between various departments and enhances overall productivity.

To know more about Akku’s complete set of features and their specific benefits to your facility, contact us today!

What is Continuous Authentication?

Technology users today are spoilt for choice when it comes to the types of devices and the variety of platforms through which they can stay connected to work and social groups. They can access their accounts from simply anywhere and at any time, as long as they can authenticate their identities.

However, the process of authentication as we know it has remained largely static – the user provides the system with their credentials at the time of access, the system matches it against its database of user data and provides the user access to the network on successfully validating their credentials.

Continuous authentication brings in a new approach to network security, and the reception it has received goes to show the importance companies attach to their security today. Continuous authentication can help your organization protect itself from ‘session imposters’ who try to take over sessions which are open even after the employee is done using them. It also helps you protect your network from credential stuffing attacks and phishing.

What is Continuous Authentication?

In continuous authentication, users are rated based on ‘authentication scores’ which aim to determine, based on user behavior, if the user is actually who he/she is claiming to be. With advanced algorithms which are fast becoming smart enough to understand human behavior, networks can essentially monitor user behavior to determine a user’s authenticity. 

For example, in a banking application, if the security solution detects an anomaly in user behavior, it can prompt a logout or request for additional information like fingerprint or password to ensure that the account is used only by the designated person.

Continuous authentication has become powerful enough to analyze information from the various sensors of smartphones and other devices to monitor the pressure on the keypad, the amount of time being spent on an application etc. 

With certain continuous authentication solutions, organizations can also assign restrictions based on tolerable risk by specifying the minimum confidence score and factors like a user’s location or time of the access request. 

When you implement a continuous authentication solution, think in terms of acceptable risk and context – certain applications in your network might need lower authentication scores than other, more critical, applications. 

While planning to deploy a continuous authentication system, it is also important to ensure that it is compatible with your existing security solution and covers all the areas of your organization’s network.

We understand that cybersecurity is becoming more fluid and security solutions are becoming more powerful and customizable. Akku’s DNS filtering and geolocation features can be used to score your users, and this information can be used to continuously authenticate them. To know more about how we can help you, get in touch with us now.

Akku Vs. Okta – Understand Before you Choose

Akku and Okta are both highly efficient cloud security solutions that strive to help companies manage and secure user authentication on applications in their network, and to transform their customer experiences. Here are a few key differences between the features of Akku and Okta. 

Single Sign-on

Akku’s requires only a one-click login for universal login access for all applications. This ensures both high security and productivity.

Okta’s one-click authentication has made user login process 50 times faster. This user-friendly and customizable feature uses OTP to access to 5,500 pre-installed applications, ensuring direct navigation. 

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Akku’s MFA is simple, inexpensive, and easy-to-use. It provides multiple layers of security to the sign-in process using Time-based OTP (TOTP) and push notification. The former generates passwords every 30 seconds while the latter generates notifications to authorize login attempts.

Okta’s MFA is secure, simple, and intelligent. It verifies access using user’s knowledge, possession, and biometric factors instead of passwords. It also generates security questions, OTPs, and push notifications for a user’s authentication.

Content Filtering

Akku offers a customizable content filtering feature that ensures high productivity across your organization while improving network security. This functionality prevents employees from accessing and browsing irrelevant websites during office hours and prevents distractions and aids in providing secure network access.

Akku prevents your employees from accessing irrelevant YouTube videos which can affect employee productivity and blacklists their personal email id from being accessed using your network or systems.

Okta, unlike Akku, does not provide any content filtering features.

Time- and Location-based Restriction

While providing access to users anytime from anywhere is necessary, it is important to make sure that this feature does not compromise on security. With Akku’s time- and location-based restriction feature, security will always be on guard to restrict unusual user activities. It also restricts access to your network from specific geo-locations to prevent potential security breaches.

Okta does not offer standard products that provide time- and location-based restriction capabilities.

Password Policy Management 

Through this feature, Akku allows you to set a minimum requirement for password standardization. This prevents anyone in your organization from possibly setting weak or easy-to-hack passwords. This also allows for password consistency across your organization.

Okta comes with a password policy standardizer which is similar to Akku’s.

Internal Communications

This feature ensures end-to-end communication between the management and the employees. This feature sends push notifications to the employees for each announcement. These notifications appear as soon as a user logs in, to ensure he does not miss any information. To ensure a response from the employee’s side, it restricts action until he has read and replied to the message. This also helps you in ensuring standards compliance across your organization without any gaps.

Okta does not have a well-structured internal communications system like that of Akku.

Akku, a product by CloudNow Technologies, is a robust identity and access management solution that helps improve data security and productivity and ensures transparency and control in tandem. For the modern organization, it is crucial to maximize security, compliance and productivity across your organization and Akku’s features are specifically built around that purpose. Contact us today to know more about how Akku can help you secure your network.

All the information presented in this article is accurate as of May 5th, 2019.

Akku’s Agentless AD Connector For Improved Security

The AD connector which comes with Akku, allows organizations to use either their on-prem AD or Azure AD as the data source for authentication. Akku’s AD is agentless, which means that no additional software is installed in the client environment. Continue reading Akku’s Agentless AD Connector For Improved Security

A How-to Guide to Privileged Identity Management

Privileged Identity Management (PIM) refers to the control and monitoring of access and activity involving privileged user identities within an organization. Privileged identities include those of superusers or super control users such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Database Administrator (DBA), and other top management officials.

Usually, such accounts are given access to all applications and data within an organization, along with the highest levels of permissions. However, many times, such unlimited access has been the cause for data breaches. When an organization’s data is compromised from a privileged user or their account, it is known as Privilege Abuse or Privileged User Abuse. Continue reading A How-to Guide to Privileged Identity Management