Securing the Digital World

8 Authentication Pitfalls That Can Put You on the Road to Nowhere

Jun 01, 2017 | by Melanie Sommer |

Two-factor, multi-factor, mobile, push, tokenless, biometric: you have choices today when it comes to authentication solutions. Choose the right authentication solution, and you've got a straight shot to access that's secure and convenient for users. Choose the wrong one, and you risk getting on a path that's at best bumpy and at worst downright dangerous. Here are the things to watch out for:

1. Does the solution you're considering put convenience ahead of security?

An authentication solution shouldn't have to cut corners on security to give users the convenient access they're looking for. Choosing one that does puts you at risk for a breach or a compliance violation that could drive the whole organization off a cliff in short order-at which point it won't matter how convenient the solution is.

2. Are your authenticator options going to be limited?

With so many different kinds of users accessing your systems from so many different environments-from cloud to mobile and everything in between-you need a solution that offers more than just a couple of options for authentication. And you need a solution that makes it easy for them to seamlessly move from, say, mobile push to hardware tokens to biometrics and back again.

3. What's the risk of getting stranded on "islands of identity"?

When you have applications on-premises and in the cloud, as most organizations do, it's easy to end up with silos of identity information we call "islands of identity." Authentication solutions that don't provide a way to secure access across them can leave users frustrated and inconvenienced as they try to maneuver through multiple access processes. You can hardly blame them if they just resort to using the same password for everything-and putting the security of the entire organization at risk in the process.

4. Can you effectively secure privileged users' access without subjecting them to heavy-handed authentication demands?

Users with elevated levels of access privileges have so much control over their access, it can sometimes be hard to tell exactly what they're actually doing, at least until they go spinning out of control. Then it's too late. Keep in mind that not every authentication solution combines privileged user management with convenient and secure multi-factor authentication to reduce the risk these powerful users create.

5. Sure, the solution has features you need now-but what about the road ahead?

Think back just five years or so: how much have your authentication needs changed since then? How many more applications do you have in the cloud today? How many users are accessing them, and from how many places and types of devices? More important, how much more change is in store on your journey ahead? Why invest in an authentication solution that's not built to grow and change with you?

6. Are you getting the horsepower to handle enterprise-grade needs?

In today's enterprise, you need to be able to deliver access to more and more of the apps users want, and do it fast. You can't afford to let an authentication solution that's not up to the task slow you down.

7. Will you have to ditch your existing security infrastructure?

Your investment in security infrastructure is pretty considerable when you take into account the firewalls, legacy security apps and VPN capabilities that form a protective barrier around your on-premises applications, data and other assets. Beware of any authentication solution that doesn't support the protections and safeguards you already rely on.

8. What about your cloud apps?

You need one solution that delivers convenient, secure authentication across all the environments where users need access to resources-on-premises, web, mobile and yes, of course, cloud.

RSA SecurID® Access: Road-tested and industry-trusted authentication to keep your organization moving forward

With 30+ years of experience and over 25,000 customers, RSA's been there, done that. We've seen it all. RSA SecurID Access is the most widely deployed two-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication solution anywhere, protecting resources from cloud to ground without slowing the business down.

Is your authentication strategy on the right track?

Download this infographic and see how you can avoid the most common authentication roadblocks and stay on the path to secure, convenient access for all.