UK businesses failing to adopt cloud security solutions – Gemalto

As enterprises continue to adopt an increasing number of cloud applications, many are considering allowing employees to use consumer-focused authentication methods in the workplace for ease of access to company resources.

That’s according to Gemalto’s 2018 Authentication and Identity Management Index report, released today. In it, Gemalto revealed that while 92% of businesses are concerned about employees using personal credentials to access corporate resources, despite this only 65% are uncomfortable with employees using social media credentials to access corporate resources.

Over half (54%) of IT leaders believe that the authentication methods they implement in their businesses are not as good compared to those found on popular sites including Amazon and Facebook.

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Worryingly, with willingness to make things more convenient for employees, security is taking a back step, with 61% admitting that they are failing to implement two-factor authentication, potentially leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber criminals.

In the UK, 76% of businesses expect to increase their use of two-factor authentication within 2 years – up from 66% in 2016. And, on average, only 39% of staff in organisations are using two-factor authentication – up from 30% in 2016.

Of these, 33% of staff are required to use two-factor authentication, meaning that businesses are only using the solution when it is absolutely required, and not proactively deploying it
44% of UK IT leaders feel that the authentication methods of popular sites such as Amazon and Facebook are better than their business. However, only 54% believe that consumer authentication could be applied in the workplace.

On the poor adoption of two-factor authentication among UK businesses, Joe Pindar, director of Product Strategy, Gemalto said: “It’s clear that UK businesses want to make it more convenient for employees to access corporate resources, but many are simply failing to implement the necessary security solutions to keep themselves safe from malicious hackers. This is emphasised by the slow adoption of protection such as two factor authentication – although adoption is increasing and the majority plan to introduce this within the next two years, talk is cheap and not enough is being done quickly enough.”

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“With GDPR just a handful of months away, organisations need to move faster. IT and business leaders in the UK must quickly identify the risks associated with any applications used in their organisation, and secure their most sensitive data. If they lack the expertise to do this, they must look to employ a third party to assist this process. Simply doing nothing is not an option for businesses any longer and actions speak louder than words.”

Remote working

With a growing number of cloud apps in use, more employees working remotely and pressure mounting to make authentication stronger while ensuring ease of use, IT decision makers are keen to ‘consumerise’ the login process. In fact, 70% of IT professionals believe that authentication methods applied in the consumer world can be applied to secure access to enterprise resources.

At the same time, there seems to be increasing recognition that new approaches to cloud access can contribute to alleviating these issues. The report found that 62% of respondents believe that cloud access management tools can help simplify the login process for users, while 72% stated that a strong consideration for implementing a cloud access solution is the desire to reduce the threat of large scale breaches. The fact that 61% of respondents also stated that inefficient cloud identity management would be a key factor in adopting a cloud access management solution, shows that scalability and management overheads are also of high concern to IT professionals.

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“These findings clearly show that IT managers are struggling to balance the need for a simple and easy login experience with security,” said Francois Lasnier, SVP Identity and Access Management at Gemalto. “While there is a need to make things easier for employees, there is a fine line to be walked. IT and business line managers would do best to figure out the risks and sensitivities associated with the various applications used in their organisations and then use access management policies to manage risk and apply the appropriate authentication method. In this way, they can ensure a convenient login experience for their users, while still maintaining access security.”

With the growth in remote working, the cloud and secure access to applications have become important for organisations. As a result, almost all (94%) respondents believe that cloud access management is integral to adopting cloud applications.Nine in 10 also feel that ineffective cloud access management can lead to issues for their company, such as security (52%), IT staff’s time being used less efficiently (39%) and increased operational overheads and IT costs (38%). Despite this focus on protecting cloud applications, just three of the 27 used on average by organisations are protected with two-factor authentication.

“The rapid increase of cloud apps has brought organisations lots of benefits, but also caused a high degree of fragmentation in their ability to manage access security across numerous cloud and on-premises applications,” continued Lasnier. Without effective access management tools in place, this is liable to lead to higher risk of breach, a lack of visibility into access events, regulatory oversight – and hamper organisation’s ability to scale in the cloud.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...