Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

Cloud Security: Blog Post

Multi-Factor Authentication By @TorbenA | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Executives must not relegate security to the IT department and assume all is well; they must be active participants

Multi-Factor Authentication: Eight Considerations for CXOs

For business leaders today, it's not enough to drive company growth, seek competitive advantages and provide vision. In this era of advanced cyberattacks, executives also need to keep their companies' data security strategies top of mind. The Ponemon Institute's 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study reports that the average cost of a data breach to a company was $3.5 million, a 15 percent increase over last year. Then there is the cost of reputation damage to factor in as well. Organizations cannot afford, on any front, to be lax in their security strategies.

Executives must not relegate security to the IT department and assume all is well; they must be active participants. Leaders ultimately take responsibility for the organization's performance, and negative events that impact stakeholders also impact the leaders' longevity as well. Target's CEO left on the heels of the recent large-scale hack of customer data, suggesting a correlation between the two events.

C-suite executives need to understand why awareness of and involvement in their companies' security strategies is critical. They also must understand why authentication is a necessary and effective element of security strategy. There are many reasons to include multi-factor authentication as an effective tactic against loss of brand reputation, loss of customers and loss of trust.

Taking an Active Role in Security
It's tempting to assume that the team leads in IT and security have everything handled, leaving the executive to focus on more traditional business-related responsibilities. That assumption is wrong and dangerous. The second a breach occurs, the entire business suffers the fallout, from loss of customer (or shareholder) confidence to damaged brand reputation. Therefore, responsible CXOs shouldn't assume that IT has it handled. They must instead seek to understand exactly how company and employee assets are being protected.

CXOs don't need to manage every detail here; they just need to educate themselves about how their companies are actively taking steps to protect corporate reputation and integrity while keeping an eye on the bottom line. After all, if the company is breached, it is the CXO who will have to answer those uncomfortable questions from the media.

CXOs can avoid nightmare media scenarios by ensuring the safety of customer information assets in a way that stays ahead of today's advanced threats. They must also ensure adherence to corporate goals by developing and executing strategies that increase profit margins and drive down the costs of doing business. Such overarching goals cannot be left to the team leads; success must be managed at the executive level.

Make Security a Priority
Business leaders are responsible for setting the organization's vision and then leading their teams to bring it to reality. It's easy to focus on the bread and butter of corporate leadership, whether it's maximizing shareholder value or creating the best widget possible. Yet security is a vital component of business success as well, and change comes from the top. If upper management doesn't explicitly prioritize security in a meaningful way, it's more likely that IT departments will take more of a check-the-box approach to security as they focus on the projects given overt precedence.

Incentivizing Security
One of the most effective ways to make security a business priority is to create meaningful incentives for its deployment and management. IT and security teams should be compensated and recognized based on how airtight the network is. Fortunately, there are ways to secure access to company and employee data that fit in with the corporate budget, turning security into an ROI center as well.

To help prevent loss of brand reputation and loss of trust, a key component of this comprehensive security plan must be a multi-factor authentication strategy. Such a strategy will mitigate the attacks that threaten user confidence, such as identity theft. TCO must be taken into account, as well as the ease of integration with remote access systems and cloud applications. The ideal strategy will take into consideration factors that include a low footprint, high security, high automation and high value.

Multi-Factor Authentication: Eight Factors to Consider
For executives not yet convinced that multi-factor authentication is the way to go, these facts should be cause for reconsideration:

  1. Hackers readily use weak or stolen user credentials in 76 percent of all network breaches.
  2. The number of targeted attacks went up by 42 percent from 2012 to 2013, and it increased a whopping 62 percent from 2013 to 2014. Not only that, they also took longer to be discovered and ended up costing the victim companies 30 percent more money. In short, hackers are winning the war.
  3. Banking, gaming, social media, email and other online service providers have adopted SMS-based tools to effectively authenticate their users when accessing their systems. If it's important to them, it should be important to your business as well.
  4. Now more profitable than drug-related crimes, identity theft is the fastest-growing type of crime, accounting for $24.7 billion dollars.
  5. Malicious actors do not discriminate based on size. Not only big brands get hit; 31 percent of all targeted attacks were aimed at businesses with less than 250 employees.
  6. Without user authentication, a company's vulnerability tests, advanced firewalls and anti-virus systems are not enough. The front door stands wide open to intruders.
  7. Malicious actors do more than just steal data; they often use servers to transmit propaganda, spam or malicious code. They also destroy data and change programs or services.
  8. Hackers are always finding more effective ways to steal passwords via pharming, keylogging, phishing and other methods.

A Holistic Security Approach
As the financial and reputation costs of data breaches escalate, security must be foremost in the minds of CXOs. They must take an active role in the organization's overall security strategy to make sure that everything possible is being done to keep company information safe while keeping the budget in mind as well. Without strong authentication standards in place, hackers can take advantage of user credentials to breach security and cause mayhem. Multi-factor authentication is a key element of an organization's overall cybersecurity strategy that adds an additional layer of data protection.

More Stories By Torben Andersen

Torben Andersen is globally responsible for Sales and Marketing at SMS PASSCODE. Prior to joining SMS PASSCODE, Torben held positions including Chief Commercial Officer at Better Place Denmark, where he oversaw all aspects of the commercial launch of Better Place’s solution in Denmark. Before joining Better Place he spent over 14 years in various leadership roles within Microsoft Denmark, EMEA, and Global.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...