The way we work has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. We now operate within digital ecosystems, where remote work and the reliance on a multitude of digital tools is the norm rather than the exception. This shift – as you likely know from your own life – has led to superhuman levels of productivity that we wouldn't ever want to give up. But moving fast comes at a cost. And for our digital work environment, that cost is security.
Our desire for innovation, speed and efficiency has birthed new and complex security challenges that all in some way or another revolve around securing how we access resources. Because of this, effective access management now plays a more critical role in securing the modern workplace than ever. Follow along as we uncover five reasons why this is the case.
Educating People About Security is Not Working
For years, we've held the belief that educating people about cyberthreats would make them more cautious online. Yet, despite 17 years of annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month initiatives, internet users are more susceptible to online threats than ever. Why is this so?
The shortcoming of security training is that it often fails to consider the wider organizational culture, policies, systems, and individual nuances such as a person's IT skills, comprehension levels, age, and gender. As a result, while training might cause temporary changes in behavior, it struggles to imprint lasting changes.
Now, we can't simply discard training.
What we can do is integrate it into a broader approach, one that recognizes the limitations of cybersecurity education and applies security solutions in areas like access management to minimize human-related risk.
This type of approach is similar to how the car industry does safety. We don't train everyone to be a professional driver. That would be unsustainable and hard to scale. Instead, we build cars with safety measures in place that greatly reduce the chances (and potential impact) of accidents.
We're Only Becoming More Digital
The rapid digital transformation of the modern workplace brings both advantages and challenges. With the average company using over 250 apps and global cloud spending projected to reach $600 billion by 2023, we've seen unprecedented productivity boosts. However, every new app, device, and user increases an organization's digital attack surface.
This expansion puts immense pressure on IT teams who must maintain control of an organization's digital assets. Ensuring every tool is updated, every device is secure, and every user has the correct access rights is a complex task.
In this context, effective access management is paramount. It helps organizations maintain control over who can access what, securing the attack surface and mitigating the risk of unauthorized access.
Tricking Humans is Easier than Exploiting Systems
Cybersecurity is no longer confined to just securing systems; it's about securing humans as well.
This shift in focus has been largely driven by the rise of social engineering tactics, where cybercriminals employ techniques like phishing, pretexting, and baiting to manipulate individuals into revealing sensitive information. The reason for this shift is simple: it's often easier to trick a person than to hack a system.
Humans, being creatures of habit, follow predictable patterns and can be susceptible to cognitive biases. For instance, we tend to be overly trusting and often seek the path of least resistance. These traits make us prime targets for cybercriminals who employ sophisticated schemes to exploit these vulnerabilities. In essence, our predictable behavior makes us the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain.
The rapid pace of digital transformation has also added to this problem. As we face an increasing amount of information daily and are expected to work at ever-increasing speeds, we risk falling into decision fatigue. This high-pressure environment can lead us to let our guard down, making us more susceptible to cyberattacks.
Given these challenges, it's clear that security solutions must adapt to our behavior, not rely on it. This entails implementing robust access management measures to protect against common human errors such as accidental data sharing or the use of weak passwords.
Technology Falls Short When Humans Make Errors
Even the most sophisticated security systems are not immune to one profound vulnerability: human error. However, despite accounting for at least 88% of breaches, human error is an often-overlooked element that could potentially bring even the most advanced security systems to its knees.
The paradox lies in the fact that while technology evolves at a rapid pace, our habits and behaviors don't necessarily keep up. For instance, even with an advanced security infrastructure in place, a single moment of negligence such as clicking on a suspicious link or using an insecure network can expose an entire system to threats.
The implications of human error in cybersecurity can be likened to the act of meticulously locking your front door, only to leave a window wide open. No matter how advanced or secure your lock system is, if an open window is available, your security measures are rendered pointless. The challenge, therefore, is to find solutions that not only protect against external threats but also factor in the variable of human error.
We're Living in a Password Pandemic
In the age of digital transformation, we've found ourselves grappling with what can be best described as a "password pandemic." As digital tools become more embedded in our daily lives, the number of accounts and consequently, the number of passwords each of us has to remember, have exploded.
The result is a troubling trend where individuals are increasingly losing control over their passwords. To cope with this, it's become all too common to resort to risky password practices, like using the same password across multiple platforms, or using easily guessable passwords. In the quest for convenience, we are willingly sacrificing security, thereby presenting cybercriminals with easy opportunities.
What's more, businesses face the daunting task of managing an enormous amount of login credentials, further escalating the risk of password-related breaches. This "password fatigue" makes it clear that we need smarter, more user-friendly approaches to managing access to our digital resources, ones that can offer convenience without compromising on security.
Implementing an Access Management Solution is Paramount
The common thread running through these trends is that they all pose critical challenges to securing access to systems and resources.
To be fair, businesses have deployed traditional access management measures like SSO for decades. Instead, what needs to change is that these solutions must be able to adapt to both an expanding digital attack surface, but also embrace the unreliable nature of human actions.
The burden of security can no longer fall solely on the user's awareness or intent. Organizations must shoulder the responsibility of cybersecurity, which entails setting employees up for security success by proactively enforcing secure habits through solutions that suit the way people work today.
For businesses operating within Europe, the urgency of these measures is heightened due to the upcoming implementation of the NIS2 directive. Non-compliance is not an option and carries serious legal and financial consequences. Hence, implementing robust and efficient access management systems isn't just a choice, it's a necessity.
Address Modern Access Management Needs with a Modern Solution
Uniqkey, a cybersecurity company originating from Europe, aims to address the access-related challenges posed by today's ever-evolving digital workplaces. Recognizing that IT teams are heavily overloaded, Uniqkey provides a comprehensive access management platform designed to simplify and enhance access control and password management.
This platform streamlines access management by offering centralized control of an organization's digital assets. By doing so, Uniqkey effectively simplifies the task of managing permissions and user access, making it easier to ensure the integrity of a company's digital infrastructure.
Uniqkey also offers an intuitive password manager designed for employees that empowers individuals by securing the use of passwords in the workplace. By shifting the burden of secure password practices away from the user and onto an automated system, Uniqkey promotes safer habits without demanding significant behavioral changes from the end user.
This user-centric approach is what distinguishes solutions like Uniqkey from competitors.
Beyond empowering IT tools with the right tools to manage access effectively, their solution embraces people's innately flawed behavior, fostering healthy secure practices from the bottom and up. This way, they permanently address the human-centered challenges posed by our modern digital workplaces.
In conclusion, as our modern workplaces become increasingly digital, our approach to security needs to evolve concurrently. We can't afford to overlook the importance of a modern access management solution. Platforms like Uniqkey offer businesses the opportunity to stay ahead of potential access-related threats, ensuring not just survival, but the ability to thrive in this ever-evolving digital landscape.