It is common knowledge that the British Government is going through major losses. Cost cutting has therefore, become the norm for organizations and the mantra for public sector. A popular money saving initiative has seen co-location of staff to reduce property cost, and while it might seem a practical solution it’s quite obviously a nightmare for the IT team.
Let’s think about the aforementioned example. Every department in the office would exist in its locale. One part would obviously include an IT network. And just like a building has walls that protect it, the network has barriers and gateways as its walls. Just like organizations are supposed to be under one roof, so is the case with networks. And this is precisely where things begin to get complicated.
If one were to stick to our analogy, giving someone the front door key would allow them to roam freely inside the building, wherever they’d want to. Network security is similarly layered, with different breach levels resulting in different degrees of access. A company needs to control the access points, and to ensure that every individual actually is, who they claim themselves to be. And while it might seem straightforward, it definitely isn’t.
Instead of creating separate networks for every organization, a popular method is creating a common network that is regulated from the entry point. This networkless connectivity ensures that the physical construction of networks isn’t as important and enhances the dependency on the role of an individual within an organization.
Using technology that controls access, the information and services that each individual has would be determined if they connect to the network. Going back to our analogy, this would give the user the key to the front door of our building but would also seal the doors that they shouldn’t access. Access can also be controlled by monitoring the devices used to connect to the network. For example a PC from within the organization can allow the user to access information and files needed to perform their duty, while connecting from a personal laptop can be restricted at various levels. Think of any PC monitoring or employee monitoring software.
A key security related consideration reveals whether or not a user is who they claim themselves to be. Customarily, gateways require users to enter usernames and passwords for authenticity. And while this could be adequate for a single organization, single factor authentication becomes a problem when one considers co-locating.
This is precisely why 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) is being adapted to increase security. 2FA combines two of the following three elements:
1. A thing that you know – could be an username password combo.
2. A thing that you have – a device for authentication, like a smartcard.
3. A thing that you are – often called biometrics, it includes fingerprint or retina scanners.
Furthermore, customarily there are two types of devices used for authentication:
1. A token that is physical like a smartcard.
2. A token that is virtual. It can be used on cell phone to receive passcodes through text messages.
Although the use of physical tokens has been going on for several years, they are still very much an outdated technology. Not only is the administration of token configuration and their distribution pretty nightmarish, their shelf-life also needs to be factored in. On the contrary, virtual tokens are considerably cheaper in terms of management, easy to carry in pockets and user-friendly.
Networkless connectivity when added to robust 2FA allows simple user access without any impediment and formulates a dynamic and secure setup. Hence, it doesn’t matter if you are merging, demerging, remerging or merely introducing a working practice securely you can ensure that its future is secure and also cost-effective. Start thinking outside the box, and getting physical is not the way to go about it.
Natalia David has made quite a name for herself in the arena of technology writing. She author significantly contributes towards PC and Cell Phone Security Software, Cell phone tracking and employee monitoring software. If you want to know more about Natalia you can follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4