What is Risk-Based Authentication? And Why Should You Implement It?

Before you start implementing it for your business, choosing who should access your data seems simple enough. But once your business is up and running, data accessibility and system authorization are far from black and white.

Data and systems are increasing in complexity, value, and sensitivity today. While discussing data accessibility requirements, earlier it might have been enough to ask “Who should access this data or system?” Now the questions have become more complicated. How can one verify the identity of a user accessing a system? What happens if the data in a given system is compromised? Is the access request coming from a known source or a new device? What will the repercussions be if regulatory compliance is not followed?

Enterprises today must ensure consumer and business data security at all costs. This means ensuring data and networks are always protected by security protocols that guarantee app and system security. By using risk-based authentication, you can keep your data safe.

Factors Affecting Data and System Security:

By answering a few defined questions, you can ensure there are no vulnerabilities present in your network or system.

  • To which network(s) do you stay connected?
  • Are your primary systems secure?
  • Are the authorized mobile devices in the network compliant with security regulations?
  • What is the current location of the central system?
  • How far apart are the authorized devices from the central system in the network?

What is Risk-Based Authentication?

Access today is a combination of authorization and authentication. Understanding risk-based authentication means understanding both these concepts individually.

Authentication refers to the process of validating a user or device’s identity when access is requested. Once the identity of a user or device has been verified, the system must decide whether this entity is authorized to access the system. If yes, to what extent and how much will it get permission to access? Both authentication and authorization function on separate scales.

In the authentication decision, systems and IT leaders must evaluate how certain they are of this entity and their identity claims. With the advancement in authentication technology, it is getting simpler to complete this process.

For the authorization process, network decision-makers must evaluate the risks related to the levels of granted access. This could range from no access to limited access to complete access.

Why Do Businesses Need Risk-Based Authentication?

In today’s data-driven world, a user’s mobility almost always impacts network security. Multi-factor authentication is fundamental to network security for the deployment of a zero-trust infrastructure for several reasons:

  • A user stays connected to the organization’s resources from various unsecured networks.
  • The working hours are no longer fixed. Hence timings could range from early morning to late night.
  • Users might share devices with their family members.

All of these factors could contribute to attackers exploiting devices or authorization permissions. Risk-based authentication considers various factors of risk when it performs authentication decisions. This goes beyond static authentications, where administrators can create rules allowing for the modification of authentication behavior. Sometimes, this means reducing authentication processes if risks are low or adding additional steps for sensitive data or systems.

If your business is not currently using risk-based authentication, it’s time to start securing your networks and data before it’s too late.

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