September 25, 2022

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Clayton Donnelly, Vice President and General Manager, Identity Management Security, by Broadcom Software

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(This article was originally published in Dark Reading by Clayton Donnelly.)

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Although analysts have predicted the death of passwords for many years, passwords are still the dominant authentication credential used for many applications and IT systems. The reason for this is simple – everyone knows how passwords work, which makes them more convenient to use.

As a result, 80% of all company data breaches and hacking incidents result from stolen or compromised passwords. It’s not hard to see why. The average user has more than 90 online accounts—nearly all require a password that more than half of users reuse. And with a record 1,862 data breaches at an average cost of $4.24 million per breach in 2021, it’s no surprise that there are more than 555 million passwords available on the dark web.

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Passwords are spreading in our digital world and are being stolen in record numbers every year. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

The dual dilemma of security versus convenience

Enterprises today can solve this problem. In fact, many are augmenting an already existing password with another factor – for example, sending an out-of-band code via SMS or email. Technology exists for even stronger login credentials, but these will often significantly affect the user experience, which hurts adoption with internal users (employees) or retention with external users (consumers).

Organizations face a balancing act: how to improve their authentication process so login credentials are easy to use and provide the necessary security, but at the same time, are difficult for hackers to steal or compromise. . Oh, and don’t forget that this advanced authentication mechanism should be cost-effective too!

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Over the years, several new types of login credentials have emerged that were effective in one or two areas but less so in others. But there is hope. A new approach is turning this paradigm on its head.

important to come

The size and scope of the problem should also be taken into account. For large enterprises, these challenges are magnified manifold because of the sheer number of applications running in their hybrid environment from cloud to mainframe. You’ve heard a lot about the cloud, but how often have you heard someone mention mainframes? Did you know that mainframes handle 90% of all credit card transactions, or that mainframes handle 68% of the world’s production IT workloads? For many of our strategic customers, mainframes are more mission critical than anything else that runs in the cloud.

A truly effective identity security solution needs to cover all aspects of an organization’s infrastructure. From mainframes to distributed servers, from virtualized to multi-cloud environments, managing access to business applications, privileged accounts and everything in between.

Convergence of Technology and Standards

The missing link in efforts to improve this identity security challenge is the failure to recognize that changing passwords is not as easy as people think. But there are a number of trends that could help hasten the death of passwords once and for all.

The first is a smartphone. According to Ericsson, the number of smartphone users in the world today is approximately 6.6 billion, which is about 84% of the world’s population. These devices are not only ubiquitous, but are also responsible for teaching users how to use their fingerprint to unlock their devices and take selfies. Biometrics is no longer an abstract concept – it is becoming familiar even to those who struggle to use computers.

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The second trend is one of standardization, especially increasing support for FIDO or Open ID Connect. These new security standards help to facilitate the exchange of identity and authentication information between the identity provider and the application. These eliminate the need for standard passwords and replace them with passwordless technologies, such as biometrics (a finger swipe on your phone). However, there are many mainframe and web applications that were never designed with support for these standards, and therefore cannot take advantage of passwordless authentication – i.e. without a major redesign or a little help.

For new or small enterprises, the modification of applications to be FIDO or OpenID Connect compatible may be relatively minor, but for larger enterprises, this issue is significant as large portions of their mission critical apps may need to be modified. , and it’s just not financially viable. As a result, while new applications are being built with passwordless authentication mechanisms, they are only addressing a subset of enterprise applications, networks, and environments. A truly effective security system needs to cover all the digital assets of the organization. If not, the bad guys will always find the weakest link.

Some old, some new, some borrowed, some blue red.

This adage has inspired many marriage traditions and is somewhat appropriate to the theme because the solution to enterprise identity security challenges is basically the same: new, cloud-native tools for building a modern identity fabric. Weaving together its existing identity and access management tools, borrowing niche or point products to fill specific gaps or address unique use cases.

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Only through a holistic platform can enterprises solve the biggest pain points in identity security by replacing the need for passwords for everything in our digital world with a single password-less sign-on process. And like many couples who are inspired by this famous wedding saying, ventures aren’t looking for a salesperson, but a lifelong partner (some red).

To learn more about how Broadcom Software can help you modernize, optimize and protect your enterprise, contact us here.

Clayton Donnelly, Vice President and General Manager, Identity Management Security, Broadcom Software:

Broadcom Software

Clayton Donnelly is the Vice President and General Manager of the Identity Management Security Division at Broadcom (IMS). In this role, he is responsible for the company’s Identity and Access software portfolio, which protects and manages access to some of the world’s most mission-critical applications.

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