Compliance ensures that an enterprise maintains a minimum standard of security-related requirements in accordance with industry and regulatory standards. Its scope, however, goes beyond having regulations in place, to successfully implementing policies and contracts.
Best practices and common sense dictate that we use unique, hard-to-guess passwords for each application that we use. However, most of us place convenience over security and give in to the worst password habit – using a single, easy-to-remember password across all our applications. This is simply because of the management of multiple passwords, each following different password policy rules, can be difficult. The problem with this approach is that our single password if hacked or even guessed successfully, can be used in a credential stuffing attack to gain access to several of our personal accounts. Continue reading Web Authentication – The Future of Going Passwordless
Online identity theft, simply put, is impersonation on an online platform. If someone else pretends to be you — either by stealing your credentials and logging into your account or by creating a fake account that others believe is yours – then your identity has been stolen.
There are a number of ways – data breaches, phishing, mishandled passwords, and more – through which personal data collected by an organization can be compromised, giving rise to the risk of identity theft. There are also a number of ways in which Akku, the Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution by CloudNow, can help you prevent it.Continue reading Prevent Online Identity Theft with Akku
While it is natural to feel apprehensive on the cloud, especially if you are new to it, remember that there are a number of ways to stay in control of your organization’s applications and data, even while ensuring that authorized users can access them with greater ease.
A password is the first and most basic level of security you can apply to protect your applications from unauthorized access. However, with several hackers and bots lurking on the internet, a password is also vulnerable to attack. With the provision to set up and enforce a strong password policy, Akku allows users to only set up strong, complex passwords that are difficult to crack.
2.Adding multiple layers of security
If your business relies on highly sensitive data, you need to protect it with more than just your users’ passwords. Akku’s Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) functionality does just that, integrating a powerful additional layer of security into the sign-in process. If this functionality is enabled, Akku demands users to reconfirm their identities by using a TOTP or a push notification.
3.Enabling admins to set up restrictions
Typically, a cloud application can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. This, while being one of the biggest boons of cloud computing, can also be a potential threat. This is why, Akku enables administrators to set up restrictions — to limit access to one or more critical applications outside of a certain time slot or location, or even from unrecognized IPs or devices.
4.Preventing suspicious logins
In addition to enabling administrators to set up tailored restrictions for each user based on time, location, IP address and device, Akku also detects and responds to suspicious and unusual user activity. For example, if a user has logged in from two different countries (one familiar, one unfamiliar) within a matter of minutes or hours, access will be denied.
5.Keeping admins in control, remotely
Akku comes with a smartphone application which enables admins to receive notifications and alerts, even when they are not in the office. Moreover, with one-click access to their dashboard, they can view or review user activity as well as provide, edit or revoke access and permissions to users.
6.Encrypting all data
Akku comes with custom salted-hash functionality – a combination of salting and hashing techniques – that is used to encrypt user credentials. This way, even if users are accessing your organization’s applications form unsafe or open networks, the data is kept safe in an encrypted format.
7.Maintaining filters for company-owned devices
Akku protects your company-owned devices from malicious content by enabling you to maintain DNS filters – blocking personal email, irrelevant website access, and YouTube filtering – even when the device is being used from a network outside the organization’s firewall.
Akku is a robust, flexible identity and access management (IAM) solution that can help your organization leverage the cloud without worrying about data security, privacy, compliance with standards, and productivity. To know more or to see how Akku can be integrated with your organization’s applications, get in touch with us today!
Governments across the globe rely increasingly on technology today to serve their citizens better. But with the rapid evolution of technology, it is often a struggle for the different departments of government to keep up. This happens due to insufficient funds, security concerns or simply a lack of motivation to meticulously plan and implement the move.
Of these, security is the most critical consideration, since government agencies and departments are possibly the first line of defense against any cyber attack. This is especially true when it comes to government entities wanting to migrate their operations to the cloud.
Cloud Security Concerns
The United States of America has been one of the first few countries to understand the advantages and scalability that cloud computing offers and has already migrated over half of its government operations to the cloud. But what is holding back ALL governments from fully embracing the cloud? And what can be done about it?
When a cloud network is accessed remotely, the security measures kept in place at the end user’s system determines the security strength of the entire cloud network. This means that governments have to not only have iron-clad security for their data stored in the cloud but also ensure that individual devices which access the network have equally strong security protocols in place.
Solution 1: Identity and Access Management
One way to go about resolving the issue would be to decrease the complexity involved with cloud access and operations. Usually, when there are several applications hosted on the cloud, its users are required to remember several sets of credentials to access them. This leads to setting of simple passwords, which in turn leads to an easy to hack security. An Identity and Access Management or IAM solution can be deployed across the cloud network so that the users need to remember only a single set of credentials for all the applications they are authorized to use.
Another advantage of protecting your network with an IAM solution is that in case the device gets stolen or lost, it is easy to remotely delete an account, making it almost impossible for an outsider to enter your network.
Solution 2: Device and IP based Restriction
A security solution which comes with provisions for device and IP based restriction allows only access to a cloud network only from whitelisted devices and IP addresses. Any attempt to access the network from an IP address or a device that has not been explicitly whitelisted is simply rejected, and the admin of the network is notified. This serves to identify potential breach attempts, based on which improvements to cloud security measures may also be taken up.
Solution 3: Password Policy Enforcement
A cloud network’s security is only as strong as its weakest password. If a cloud network does not have a Single Sign-on solution in place, it means that every user has to remember as many passwords as the number of applications he/she is allowed to access in the cloud network. This means that for the ease of remembering the passwords, users tend to set weak and easy to hack passwords. Implementing a strong password policy will ensure that all the passwords used to access a cloud network comply with a specified minimum standard.
Cloud security solutions come in several architectures and platforms. But when it comes to critical data of a nation’s citizens, and the systems used to access that data, only the best solution is safe enough.
Identity theft is as real as your identity and as dangerous as the one who steals it. It occurs when an unauthorized person or entity uses your personal information to assume your identity and commit fraud and other criminal activities including stealing from you, or from others in your name.
What does an identity thief steal?
Your name, address, credit card or bank account information, and even information that might otherwise seem harmless, such as photographs, information about your family members or your date of birth could be used in harmful ways in the wrong hands.
How does identity theft happen?
Identity thieves are well-organized, tech-savvy, creative and have seemingly innocent online personalities. They can steal information, simply by requesting it from an unassuming person or by using technological attacks to capture millions of records from enterprises. Sometimes, a stolen wallet or a carelessly-thrown receipt or letter can also lead to identity theft.
Here are some of the ways in which an identity theft may take place in your organization:
A data breach, accidental or malicious, can have a heavy cost on both the organization involved and the individuals whose data is compromised.
Improper security on company-owned devices or devices that have access to your organization’s data is one of the leading causes of data breaches that lead to identity theft.
Phishing involves sending deceptive emails with links to malicious websites that may either request or steal your information. If one of your employees is manipulated by such an email and clicks on a link it provides, it can be dangerous to the organization itself.
Even if your organization’s email can manage to keep out such mails from employee inboxes, if your employee has access to their personal email at the workplace, they are at the risk of being compromised.
Public Wi-Fi Connections
One of the problems with allowing your employees to work remotely is the possibility that they may be working from places that offer open or free public wireless internet connectivity. A criminal who also has access to the same network could also be able to observe all of your employee’s activities.
Carelessness with passwords, whether in terms of the creation of weak passwords or the way they are stored, can make your employees and your organization susceptible to identity theft.
When it comes to preventing identity theft, the first step to take is to sensitize your employees on the different ways in which it can happen. Studies have proven that employees are the preferred channels that identity thieves use when they target organizations.
From your end, you also need to:
Set a strong password policy across your enterprise applications, to ensure that your organization is not compromised through your employees’ use of weak passwords
An Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution allows organizations to manage user access to critical data. It is an intermediate layer between your users and your applications/data.
Deploying an IAM solution a proven way to improve network security in an organization. A good IAM solution should also reduce the time spent by your IT team to grant access for individual applications, thereby improving architectural simplicity and reducing the load on your servers. This also means that your users have to remember only one set of credentials to access several applications in your on-premise or cloud network.
What should you expect from a good IAM solution?
Streamlined User Access
An effective IAM solution should greatly reduce hassle by providing a slick and time efficient method to validate users. It should be able to do this without compromising on security, allowing only legitimate users to access your network from on-premise or remote systems.
Conventionally, at organizations that have numerous applications on their network, users need to remember multiple sets of credentials, which is inconvenient, but more secure. An effective IAM solution should be able to strike the right balance between the two extremes of convenience and security.
With a single set of user credentials to access all permitted applications and data, memorizing multiple credentials is avoided, improving productivity and ease of use.
Another important feature you should look out for is the ability to control user access to your network. This is typically delivered through device- and IP-based restrictions, which give you the ability to provide access only from specific devices or IP addresses to your network. In addition to simply whitelisting specific requests, an IAM solution should also be able to permanently block illegal access from blacklisted devices and IPs.
Seamless Admin Control
An identity and access management solution should give the administrators of your network a simple and intuitive dashboard with all the controls needed to secure your network and manage access across it. This can go a long way in reducing the cost and time for your IT team.
This includes managing creating and removing user accounts, as well as controlling the level of access provided to each individual user.
Apart from data security, data privacy represents a major area of concern in IT security today. When it comes to data privacy, all organizations are very particular about where and how their company data is being saved, and who has access to it.
This is also related to one of the major reasons why organizations still hesitate to move their data to the cloud – “who else has access to my data if I move to cloud?” Even though almost every IaaS and PaaS provider tries to build confidence in their clients through certifications by authorized agencies, many enterprises are still not convinced. The reason is that there are still areas that lack transparency, where details on their data privacy are not clearly explained and conveyed to them.
To make things more complicated, in many cases, “backdoors” are being legalized by governments!
An effective identity and access management (IAM) solution plays a major role in data privacy and security and could go a long way in addressing the concerns that many businesses have. However, when it comes to IAM, most of the tools do not provide a dedicated server for each of their clients. While it is a fact that a dedicated server tends to cost more when it comes to pricing to the service provider, it is definitely the best way to provide 100% visibility to the client on their company data.
When a dedicated server is assigned to a client, it is possible to share server access between the client and service provider – the service provider cannot login without the client’s knowledge, and the client cannot login without the service provider’s knowledge. This may present some practical difficulties, but it is the only way to give a client 100% confidence that their data is truly under their control.
While it is true that all models have their own advantages and disadvantages, the use of a dedicated server for each client is clearly the best solution in terms of visibility and transparency, with minimal practical difficulty.
In general, a certificate is a means of creating evidence. In the domain of identity and access management, a certificate creates evidence in the form of a digital signature to verify the identity of an individual, a company, or other entity, and associates that identity with a public key.
Like a driver’s license or passport, a certificate provides a generally recognized proof of a person’s identity. Certificates have one main purpose: to establish trust.
Authentication is the process that verifies that a user is who they say they are. So a certificate makes authentication more efficient because the identity cannot be changed.
By enabling the certificate-based authentication, it is possible to reliably evaluate the user’s right to access the requested resource.
How does it work?
First, the user enters their private password.
The client receives the private key, and creates an evidence – in this case, in the form of a certificate or digital signature.
Now, the client sends the evidence through a secured connection across the network.
The server uses the evidence to authenticate the user identity.
Finally, the server authorizes the evidence and allows access.
This brings us to the question of how to implement a certificate-based authentication in your organization.
Akku by CloudNow is a powerful and secure identity and access management solution that uses certificate-based authentication to control user identity and secure access to your environment. Learn more at www.akku.work
Migration to the cloud is no longer an emerging trend. It is now a well-established method of running the operations of a business. With the cloud, you can manage data and applications in a secure environment and ensure that your users face virtually no latency while using your applications. But although the cloud comes with a basic framework for security, it still has its inherent security risks which need highly specific cloud security solutions to reliably protect your data.
To understand the need for implementing an effective cloud security solution, a deeper understanding of what causes and constitutes a cloud security threat is important.
Why Do You Need Cloud Security Solutions?
Unsecured Access Points
With several of your applications operating from the cloud, it is crucial to manage their access. Traditional methods of granting access to applications on the cloud require users to remember several sets of credentials. But with such a method, forgotten passwords would be common, draining the productivity of both your IT team and your users. To overcome this, users tend to set weak passwords which are easy to remember. But weak passwords are also easy to hack! The solution to this problem is to use an Identity and Access Management solution like CloudNow Technologies’ Akku.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are software interfaces which allow two different components of software to talk to each other. APIs are responsible for getting the requests from client systems and passing it onto the server and then retrieving the response and sending it back to the client. Considering that such an integral component is a part of your network architecture, a web application security solution is kept in place to eliminate the threat of unchecked network access from unauthorized users.
Types of Cloud Security Issues
DoS or Denial of Service is a distributed and malicious attack, designed to corrupt your servers and deny access to legitimate users. Such attacks require a complete hack of your network and injections of the attack code. A DoS attack is another common threat faced by organizations operating on the cloud. To eliminate this type of attack, it is important to maintain an intelligent firewall which can effectively stop the attack.
Cyber wars now directly translate to breaches and corruption of data. Since most organizations have to rely on third-party cloud vendors for storage, they increasingly feel like they are not in control of what happens to their data and applications. Data breach is one of the most common types of security threats, whether it happens on the cloud or any other type of storage. For this reason, companies have to go a step further and deploy high-end security solutions to prevent data breaches. While the move to the cloud can improve the efficiency of your operations to a great extent, it also requires you to choose a vendor you can trust to protect your network against the threats mentioned above. CloudNow’s cloud security solutions provide you with the security edge you require to peacefully conduct operations on the cloud without worrying about the threats trying to breach your network.