A quick search of Google news reveals that there has been a dramatic increase in cyber-attacks due to Coronavirus.1 Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has seen attacks rise by 100%2, and hospitals and research centres have been victims of ransomware3. With the majority of office-workers now accessing systems remotely, the risks for companies of all types have gone up significantly, and cyber-criminals are making the most of the opportunities4.
No-cost weapons in your arsenal
Yet, many of Itergy’s customers already have weapons in their arsenal to fight back effectively, that don’t require additional investment at a time when maximizing cashflow is essential. Two key technologies jump out as an easy way to ensure remote workers are working as securely as possible. The first is Single Sign-On (SSO) for all new and potentially many legacy applications, and the second is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Single Sign-On (SSO) adds security and convenience when users sign-on to applications connected to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Users sign in once with their on-premises AD account to access domain-joined devices, company resources, software as a service (SaaS) applications, and web applications.
- The key benefit is that only one set of credentials, with which people are already familiar, is required – reducing the number of sign-in prompts for employees.
- Administrators can centralise user account management and automatically add or remove user access to applications based on group membership.
- When workforces are being adjusted, SSO facilitates the automation of employee [onboarding, transfer and offboarding] [join, move and leave procedures].
- Azure AD SSO allows companies to centralise management of these applications with thousands of pre-integrated SaaS apps, plus the ability to add custom and on-premises line-of-business apps.
- Azure AD also provides companies and their users self-service tools to scale IT efficiencies, such as self-service password resets.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) can substantially reduce the threat level against your company by double-checking the person logging onto a system is the person they say they are. For example, with MFA enabled for Office 365 email access, when a person logs onto Exchange Online, they receive a verification request on their mobile phone. If a person is not trying to log on, they can warn their IT team someone is trying to use their ID for no good.
The cost of doing nothing
Without Single Sign-On, users must remember application-specific passwords and sign into each application. IT staff needs to create and update user accounts for each application, such as Office 365, Box, and Salesforce. Users need to remember their passwords, plus spend time signing in to each application. As the number of login IDs and passwords to remember increases, people get more confused and become more vulnerable to social engineering attacks via email or other correspondence.
Below are a few facts regarding how cyber-criminals work. MFA can help protect your organisation against breaches, identity theft and their consequences.
- Security breaches caused by hackers stealing passwords are 95% of all cyber-attacksi.
- Identity theft is increasing because it is a low-risk/high-reward crime, especially for criminals located outside a legal jurisdiction.ii
- Cyber-attacks are not limited to large companies. About 31% of hacking attacks are made on companies with 250 or fewer employees.iii
- The anonymity of cryptocurrencies increases ransomware cryptocurrency demands in malware attacks.iv
- Network-side IT security, such as anti-virus software, firewalls, malware detection, vulnerability testing, intrusion blocking, and other network monitoring, is useless against a holder of valid but stolen credentials. A login seems authentic if the credentials are not known to be stolen.v
- A hacker may go undetected for years by using stolen credentials. In corporate espionage, valuable information that creates a competitive advantage may be compromised without anyone being aware it is happening.vi