The numbers 123456 and 123456789 could spell trouble for your organization. They represent among the most popular login passwords used by corporate executives as well as ordinary internet users.
Technologies such as single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) can help mitigate the risks of password-based security breaches. What’s more, they can lower the IT support costs associated with calls from the CEO’s executive assistant telling you the big boss needs their password reset. Again.
Your employees are your biggest cybersecurity vulnerability
Security experts agree that employees are the biggest security weakness in any organization. Employees often have difficulty creating, remembering, and using different complex passwords for various online accounts, which increases security risk and adds to IT costs.
The collateral damage from this “password fatigue” can be significant if any or all of the following are true within your organization:
- 70% of employees have shared passwords with co-workers
- Employees reuse their passwords an average of 13 times
- 90% of passwords are vulnerable to attack
Simply adopting more stringent password policies that include use of complex passwords or prohibit credential sharing, may not prove to be an effective remedy.
First, the policies are difficult to enforce. Second, they may not eliminate reset calls from the executive suite or others within the company – whether they are in the office or work remotely.
And, beyond the security risk of poor password hygiene, password fatigue can add to an organization’s IT costs. As much as 50% of all help desk calls relate to password resets. The $70 it takes on average to support such calls may sound trivial on its face (unless you are comparing it to the few gallons it buys you at the gas pump these days). But think of it in terms of an organization like yours with hundreds or maybe even thousands of employees and third parties who may need to access your corporate network. That $70 per call – repeated many times a day, many times a week, many times a month – can quickly add up to millions of dollars spent in a single year alone simply on password resets.
SSO and MFA credentialing can give your entire organization a one-time password reset. And it won’t wear your employees out.
By using SSO, organizations can reduce these expenses by reducing login credentials to one single username and password that works across all online enterprise services. The use of a single set of credentials also improves security by relieving password fatigue. Employees can spend less time trying to juggle, remember, and secure numerous credentials, and with MFA, security is bolstered by the need for a second or third factor for access.
Here is a primer on this important level of protection and ease of access:
Single sign-on authentication (SSO)
SSO allows users to sign in to multiple independent software systems using just one set of credentials.
With SSO, users no longer need to sign in to every application they use. Instead, users can access all needed applications without being required to authenticate using different credentials. Security is enhanced since corporate security personnel can set password age, complexity, and MFA requirements.
Many companies have a corporate requirement that all web-based enterprise applications use SSO. Infortel Select supports single sign-on using any SAML 2.0 identity provider. Examples include Microsoft Active Directory, Cisco Duo, Okta, and Ping Federate.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
MFA is an authentication method that requires users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to the Infortel Select application.
Rather than just asking for a username and password, MFA requires one or more additional verification factors, decreasing the likelihood of a violation. MFA can be supported via SMS, email, and authenticator applications such as Microsoft Authenticator. All three methods greatly increase security. Even if the username and password are disclosed, a hacker cannot log in, as they will not have access to the second factor (SMS, email, or authentication app code.)
MFA and SSO defend against the growing security threat vectors and help regain productivity and reduce IT costs. At ISI, we have made it easy to implement SSO and MFA for our Infortel Select customers. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to activate greater protection and cost savings for your organization today!