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Why identity security should be a top priority in 2021

The turmoil of the last year has given rise to many unexpected trends, one of which is a sharp increase in remote work. And though remote work offers benefits to employers and employees alike, it also poses several challenges, one of which is identity security. 

Trying to manage the digital security of your business with a decentralised workspace can be daunting, to say the least. However, that doesn’t mean you should opt for an easy out. 

In fact, most businesses should be prioritizing identity security now more than ever.

“...nearly half of all UK businesses (46%) were subjected to a cyberattack over the course of a year.”

Employees don’t know what to look out for

Coupled with this increased risk is the fact that a large number of remote workers don’t know what to look out for. In a survey by Specops Software, 41% of employees weren’t given adequate training to spot potential security risks or know what to do if they inadvertently cause a data breach. 

If your business hasn’t had specialised training for cyberattacks, then there’s a good chance that more than a third of your employees are far more vulnerable than you may have thought. These are employees that are more likely to click an errant link, give away sensitive information unwittingly, or to connect to sensitive data via an insecure network.

Any business could be a target

Not all cyberattacks make headlines like WannaCry and TalkTalk so think twice before assuming that your SME is too small to be targeted by hackers. 

In a 2020 survey, it was discovered that nearly half of all UK businesses (46%) were subjected to a cyberattack over the course of a year. The average loss of these businesses was between £3,000 and £5,000. Can your business risk sustaining these losses? It’s a roughly 50/50 chance, so how do you feel about flipping that coin?

Protecting yourself from identity security threats is easier than you think

It is bizarre that so many businesses are still not paying cybersecurity the attention it so clearly deserves, especially when there are some really easy measures you can implement to dramatically reduce your risk.

Below are a few key ways that you can keep your business and employees safe against the rising threat of cyberattacks, whether you are working remotely or all under one roof.

“Weak or stolen passwords are responsible for the majority of breaches. Companies can sidestep this entirely by going passwordless.”

Multi-factor authentication

Perhaps the most popular form of identity security, multi-factor authentication is something that every business should implement. 

For those who don’t know, multi-factor authentication is a security measure that requires multiple forms of authentication before granting access to an account. Multi-factor authentication often involves sending a code or link to someone’s email or smartphone after they enter a password. 

By requiring more than just a password, you’re adding additional layers of security to your accounts without adding too much complexity to your existing authentication procedure.

Identity access management for your resources and systems 

Another simple way to reduce the risks posed by an identity security threat is to manage who can access the different segments of your business’s resources and data.

In other words, each employee should only have access to the information relevant to their position. An easy way to divide this up is by department. Determine which information each department needs to have access to, and ensure access to this data is managed on a “need to know” basis. 

Additionally, you can make access to particularly sensitive types of data more limited. For instance, rather than giving someone permanent access to a specific dataset, you can set a window of time that they will be able to access that data.

By putting identity access management measures in place, you can reduce the amount of data that a hacker can gain access to should they breach your security via one of your employee’s accounts.

Implement SSO technology

Reusing the same password dozens of times is high risk, and remembering dozens of different passwords is a big ask. You don’t want your staff doing the first, and they don’t want to be doing the second! The solution? Single Sign On (SSO) solutions. With an SSO solution your staff can log on to applications automatically and securely.

Go Passwordless!

Weak or stolen passwords are responsible for the majority of breaches. Companies can sidestep this entirely by going passwordless. No, we haven’t gone mad! We’re talking about moving to a contextual security solution like Device Trust or Okta’s Desktop SSO.

These solutions make your employees’ lives easier while centralising and increasing security, reducing the strain on support teams.

Strengthen your identity security with Innovate IT

Investing in these areas of your digital security will go a long way towards reducing the risks associated with the increase in cybersecurity attacks.

We at Innovate IT are experts in recommending and implementing the ideal mix of secure identity measures for your business, so reach out to us to find out how best to secure your company and avoid the financial, operational and reputational risks associated with outdated security.