Identity Proofing Is Key to Mobile IT and More, but Cost Matters Too

Sandra O'Boyle
Sandra O’Boyle

Summary Bullets:

  • Identity management solutions are traditionally associated with hardware tokens and passwords, and while these continue to be used and enhanced, they do not work for everyone (e.g., hardware tokens offer better assurance but can be expensive, and it can take time to ship a new token if someone loses one).  Passwords will continue to be widely used, but remembering multiple passwords, for both personal and business use, requires keeping them simple or using the same ones over and over – which in itself defeats the whole purpose of security.
  • Some enterprises are starting to move towards soft token multi-tenanted solutions that require multiple-factor authentication, yet are globally available in nature, flexible (with no limit on devices and options) and include authentication apps for smartphones and iPads.  Service providers such as Verizon are offering identity management services based on a multi-tenanted authentication platform that is hosted and managed by the service provider in its data center; this helps to keep costs down.  This approach is being positioned by service providers as ‘identity-as-a-service’ where companies pay a per-user fee.  In the future, Google and others will also be experimenting with biometrics and facial recognition as part of identity proofing and securing access to devices, but these are still some way off from enterprise reality.
  • The use of a multi-tenanted authentication server provides an easy-to-use management and reporting interface and a flexible price model, compared to the majority of two-factor authentication providers which offer a traditional on-premises solution without multi-tenancy.  These solutions can certainly be used in a cloud context, but they will be required to run either on the customer site, resulting in cost and complexity for the cloud service provider, or in the service provider’s data center, which can also result in cost issues because the solution will not be multi-tenanted. Continue reading “Identity Proofing Is Key to Mobile IT and More, but Cost Matters Too”