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Cobalt Iron Receives European Patent for Dynamic Authorization Control That Automatically Responds to Threats and Events

May 2022 by Marc Jacob

Cobalt Iron Inc. announced that it has been granted a European patent on its technology for dynamic authorization control based on conditions and events. Issued on April 27, European Patent Office patent 3617917 describes capabilities for Cobalt Iron Compass®, an enterprise SaaS backup platform, that enable the use of analytics to adjust user authentication and access to IT resources dynamically based on a variety of environmental and operational considerations. The technology meets an unfilled need in the industry for authorization control that responds to cyberthreats and other changes in the IT ecosystem.

Authorization controls are defined as the processes by which individuals or entities are validated to have proper security authentication and permissions to execute some action against some resource, such as accessing an operations center or moving and deleting data. In most environments today, authentication roles and associated permissions often remain in place for long periods of time, sometimes years, without further validation or adjustment. Existing techniques are typically static and two-dimensional in nature, only providing control over 1) functional permissions and 2) the domain, or scope, of those permissions. As job responsibilities, projects, applications, architectures, and business needs change, these old roles and permission assignments often expose the enterprise to security risks.

Furthermore, IT administrators often have many roles, some of which are transient in nature, and some of which may be partially or completely overlapping or even conflicting. In addition, roles may change in different environments (e.g., in different clouds, data centers, projects, stages of a project, etc.) and under evolving conditions and events. Roles may also change for a specified duration under certain conditions.

Cobalt Iron’s newly patented techniques introduce new dimensions of authorization control, such as conditional roles that are contingent on environment status, location, and/or duration. This patent also discloses techniques that automatically adjust these authentication roles and privileges based on varying conditions, events, project status, access activities, etc. In doing so, the techniques eliminate the pervasive security exposures of outdated, obsolete, and unresponsive authorization controls. This eases the minds of security administrators, backup administrators, systems administrators, and other IT professionals who are responsible for maintaining security, authentication, and access control in their environments. The techniques disclosed in this patent establish new standards of security controls and automated, analytics-based responsiveness when authorizing control of IT resources. These techniques:

Monitor for various conditions and events, such as a change in the state of a project, a change in a security alert level, a change in the location of data or IT resources, a change in business state analysis, and such.
Dynamically modify user authorization control, level, or duration based on the condition or event.
Determine that a user has been inactive for a period of time and automatically modify an authorization control for that user.
Leverage a cloud security profile to determine any user authorization modifications.

For example, these techniques can automatically recognize the following events and dynamically adjust authorization control to the IT resources associated with them:

A project status changes to "defunded" or to "production."
There are indications of a physical or electronic security breach.
An application moves to a different location or cloud provider.

Cobalt Iron continues to strengthen companies’ security preparedness with innovations in analytics-based authorization controls that are responsive to changing environments.

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