Passwords have been a security risk for nearly as long as they have existed. 81% of security incidents are due to weak or stolen passwords, yet employees continue to disregard basic principles of cyber hygiene.
61% of workers use the same password across multiple platforms, and 43% have also shared their passwords with others. These factors combine to explain why compromised credentials are often the source of data breaches.
Many organizations have prioritized access and identity management due to the rise of cloud computing, where people must enter only a username or password for system access.
Cybercriminals can easily obtain employee logins and all data contained within an account by obtaining it. This is especially dangerous if the account is one like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, since these have access to user email and cloud storage.
Below, we will define conditional access and its relationship to multi-factor authentication. Additionally, we'll go over the advantages of switching over to conditional access.
What is Conditional Access?
Contextual access, commonly referred to as conditional access, allows you to control user access. It works similarly to "if/then" statements: if something exists then do this action.
You can set conditional access rules that require the following: necesitate a one-time passcode if someone logs in from outside of your country
Conditional access provides users with the power to specify conditions that will restrict their access to a system. It often works in tandem with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), providing extra security without inconveniencing users.
Some of the most influential contextual factors include:
- IP Address
- Geographic Location
- Time of Day
- Device being used
- Role or Group to which user belongs
Azure Active Directory and other access and identity management tools allow for conditional access configuration. Your IT partner may also be of assistance in setting up the proper conditions to suit your business requirements.
Implementing conditional access for identity management offers numerous advantages.
Conditional access enhances security by providing more flexibility to challenge user legitimacy. It does not simply grant access to anyone with an account username and password - they must meet certain conditions in order to gain entry.
Logging attempts from countries without employees could be blocked by contextual access. Employees using unrecognized devices could be asked additional verification questions for further confirmation.
Automating Access Management Process
Once the if/then statements have been set up, the system will take over monitoring contextual factors and taking appropriate actions. This simplifies administrative IT staff's workload while ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Automating processes can be more reliable and accurate than manual ones, since automation eliminates human error. This ensures each login is verified for accuracy.
Some Activities Are Limited
Conditional access can be used for more than just keeping unauthorised users out of your accounts. It has the potential to be utilized in other ways as well, such as restricting legitimate users' activities.
You could, for example, restrict data access or settings based on a user's role within the system. Conditions can be combined together. You could lower permissions to view-only if someone is in an established role but logs in from an unfamiliar device.
Enhancing User Logging Experience
Studies show that only 67% of companies utilize multi-factor authentication, which is one of the best methods to prevent credential breaches.
Employees may find the software frustrating, which is likely one of the primary reasons why it's not used more often. They may complain about how it reduces productivity or hinders their ability to use business applications effectively.
Conditional access can be combined with multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced user experience. You can, for instance, require MFA only when users are not physically present on the premises. Additional challenge questions can also be set up based on role or context to prevent users from being inconvenienced.
Respects the Rule of Least Privilege
The rule of least privilege is a security best-practice that states users should only be granted minimum access to systems necessary for their jobs. You can do this using roles in your identity management software by assigning users appropriate levels of access.
Conditional access makes it simpler to restrict access to data and functions based on job requirements. Identity management becomes simpler with conditional access, since all functions related to access control and multi-factor authentication rules are contained within one system. Management becomes streamlined since everything stays together.
Get help implementing conditional access today!
Once established, an automated system will take over for improved security and reduced account breaches. Contact us for a complimentary consultation to improve your cybersecurity today.