Network Security Concern for Your Business (Part 1): Unsecure Authentication

network services companyProper authentication is a necessary security precaution to ensure the integrity of networks, protect sensitive data and keep customers’ trust.

However, many Oklahoma companies do not utilize proper authentication encryption standards or procedures, leaving them especially vulnerable to web security issues.

Here is what your business needs to know about authentication, some tips to ensure your authentication is up to standards and why it might be time to hire a network services company.

The Security Challenges and Threats Involved With Authentication

Authentication ensures the user that your network is providing access for who he or she claims to be. Proper authentication is often an issue with many networks. Technologies like wireless networks are also becoming more common, and often feature more vulnerabilities than older wired networks.

Improper authentication procedures can leave a network vulnerable to user impersonation, fraud and sensitive data theft. Often, something as simple as weak user passwords can be a major vulnerability. Verizon’s research shows that 76 percent of data breaches have been due to weak or stolen passwords.

How to Protect Your Network

It is important to ensure the right authentication is used in a business environment. This means using secure encryption standards like WPA2. Companies should avoid using older forms of authentication like WEP with weaker encryption, which hackers have already successfully defeated.

Strong encryption is often not enough protection, and companies should think about implementing solutions like the following:

  • Do not store sensitive data unless you have to. Deleting sensitive but unnecessary data can greatly reduce risk.
  • Encrypt all passwords on a network with a program like bcrypt or scrypt.
  • Limit authentication attempts and lockout users who fail to authenticate after a set number of times.
  • Monitor and track all authentication sessions throughout the entirety of the sessions. Strong audit trails are necessary for every business.
  • Use HTTPS, especially regarding sensitive data like banking or credit transactions. This will help encrypt data when it’s in transit across a network. Otherwise, attackers may be able to see data transmitted over your network.

Managing Authentication & Hiring a Network Services Company

Often, implementing proper network security measures can be costly and time consuming without the right solutions. That means your business should have the proper IT management strategy that can ensure automated authentication procedures and proper identity management.

In addition, these management solutions need to be centralized so you have a “big picture” of the whole network. This centralized management will allow you to see which users are on your network in real-time, easily remove or reduce user privileges, and add new authorized mobile devices to your network to ensure employees can quickly gain access.

At the same time, the user experience also needs to be considered to ensure productivity. You may want to consider implementing measures like biometric authentication to your networks. For example, company phones could require fingerprint authentication to ensure that the right user is gaining access. As an added bonus, this authentication procedure is fast and easy for your employee, meaning they quickly gain secure access without slowing down their workday. In fact, Gartner predicts that 30 percent of organizations will require biometric authentication by 2016 for mobile devices.

Ultimately, it’s important to have a cost-effective, secure and efficient authentication solution. If your Oklahoma business needs assistance with implementing secure authentication procedures, Dobson Technologies can help as part of our outsourced IT solution. Interested in learning more? Send us a message or call us at (405) 242-0171 to schedule a meeting.