Access management failures are putting organizations at risk
June 2021 by NordVPN
A proper user management strategy can be the difference between protected data and exposed data. In the current climate, flexible remote work has become the norm — with that, the risk surrounding data integrity is rapidly increasing.
The aforementioned risk isn’t subject to simply the bad PR companies could face. In fact, the monetary losses can be significant. According to IBM’s ‘Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020’, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million.
User access management plays a critical role in securing business or client data. If only trusted users are allowed access to critical areas of the network, the risk of data breaches is dramatically reduced. The ever-growing popularity of cloud applications such as Office 365, G-Suite, and others make things more complex when it comes to network security.
Cloud apps offer a great deal of flexibility and enhance the workplace, but they have plenty of security risks associated with them — particularly when the many employees are working remotely and accessing resources from various locations.
“Cloud applications provide a great way to scale operations for growing businesses, who may not have the resources to build their own infrastructure. However, companies should be aware that without strict user access management, cloud apps can bring more trouble than you bargained for” says Juta Gurinaviciute, Chief Technology Officer at NordVPN Teams.
When it comes to data access, the window of opportunity for hackers is enormous. Forrester Research has estimated that, despite continually increasing cybersecurity budgets, 80% of security breaches involve privileged access abuse, and 66% of companies have been breached an average of five or more times. Many breaches can go undetected for many months — it’s therefore essential that companies fortify their cloud app security imminently.
IP whitelisting reduces the surface area for attack
IP whitelisting enables secure remote access to company resources, allowing employees and short-term contractors to access the resources that they need to complete their work — without risking the safety of the whole network.
This helps mitigate the dangers posed by remote and on-site BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that could negatively impact data security.
“The Software and IT industries are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats, as the majority of their operations are often cloud-based. When applications are in active development, security measures can sometimes be lacking — users with malicious intent can easily compromise or steal data from these environments’’, says NordVPN Teams expert.
Improving business security systems by automatically blocking access from unauthorized users is a step towards a zero-trust model — IP whitelisting makes it possible. By defining access policies through a user-to-application model, admins can assign specific employees the relevant permissions required to only the cloud applications they require.
By working on the principle of ‘never trust, always verify’, IP whitelisting can be used to automatically deny access from all unknown entities. If data or applications cannot be accessed by unauthorized IPs, companies eliminate most of the typical attack vectors that can result in data breaches or damage to the network.
In short — if access is requested from a ‘non-allowed’ IP address, they are blocked from even seeing anything about the network.