Authentication Remains A Leading Challenge For CISOs

Worrying about cybersecurity can be a full-time job, and for people that hold the formal position of Chief Information Security Officer, it’s a contractual, salaried professional obligation. However, as expected in a world with constantly evolving technology, keeping up to date with the latest security measures or up-and-coming threats can be daunting. And there are always some constant challenges that will always have to be faced like with passwordless authentication.

The Authentication Paradox

One of the biggest challenges for CISOs is the constant push and pull of authentication requirements. Authentication is crucial. Companies want only authorized individuals to access the data they are entitled to, but it’s a tricky balance. If authentication is too difficult to implement, it could be challenging for even legitimate users to access their data. But make authentication too easy, and it can be exploited or bypassed, and unauthorized users could gain access to confidential or even damaging data.

Increasing Challenges

In the past, the standard solution was to implement a password system. This was easy to create and had the virtue of being flexible enough to install across multiple platforms. However, password-based systems are vulnerable to “brute force” techniques, such as the process of elimination, easily guessed passwords, or even careless employees not bothering to change create a secure, personal password and leaving the default password intact.

Another big challenge is the increasing need for flexible forms of access. It’s no longer sufficient to make a PC secure within an office building and call it a day. Staff may need to access data while traveling or using different devices such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Sometimes, staff work from home or are full-time remote employees who never set foot in an office yet need access to critical data on their device of choice.

Passwordless Authentication Can Help

One way to ease the challenges is by using safeguards that are more secure yet easier for users to work with. Passwordless authentication, such as biometrics or a USB encrypted key is one of the measures that eliminate the risk of older systems relying on different forms of authentication. Users no longer have to commit to memory long, random strings of alphanumerics to maintain a strong password and, in some cases, carry their authentication with them all the time via having the correct voice, face, thumbprint, and more.

Tactics like using a “zero trust” approach and implementing this with passwordless authentication measures can greatly affect CISOs working to maintain a secure working environment. If you’re interested in using the FIDO protocol and moving to a passwordless authentication system, read here to learn more.

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