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Security, Tips and Techniques

Happy World Password Day! Celebrate By Adopting Passwordless Authentication (for PeopleSoft)

By Scott Lavery • May 7, 2020

Every first Thursday in May, cybersecurity professionals collectively roll their eyes at the idea that there is (in fact), a World Password Day. Why? Because PeopleSoft passwords are the undisputed King of Liability of most enterprise organizations.

User credentials are stolen at an alarming rate – and the tactics are becoming more sophisticated. Throw in the fact that users are now working from their living rooms, home offices, and in many cases… mobile phones – hackers see their opportunity and they’re taking it.

This is precisely why Gartner predicts that by 2022, 60 percent of large and global enterprises, and 90 percent of mid-size enterprises will implement passwordless authentication methods.

Why Organizations are Adopting Passwordless

Risk of Weak/Stolen Passwords

Like I mentioned, phishing and spear phishing attacks are on the rise. Hackers are able to crack user credentials easily as evidenced by the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Report that stated 81% of hacking related breaches used either weak or stolen passwords. This would be a clear sign that an organization should limit their use of passwords wherever possible.

Passwords Can be Expensive to Maintain

Managing passwords can be an expensive affair. According to Forrester Research, the average helpdesk labor cost for a single password reset is $70. The more complex your identity and access management is, the more expensive it will be.

Passwords Hinder Productivity

Imagine an employee taking ten minutes out of their schedule to recover a forgotten password. Now imagine hundreds of users facing the same issue. Doing away with passwords can help organizations save time and increase productivity.

Why PeopleSoft Passwords are a Challenge

PeopleSoft throws an extra wrench into the authentication/password equation; given PeopleSoft passwords tend to be very weak and users require different credentials for each application. Some organizations use a portal to simulate a single sign-on but the challenge of weak passwords still remains for portal authentication.

Organizations are fully aware of the challenges with PeopleSoft passwords and tend to customize solutions that are complex, frequently break, and generally add more complexity than they’re worth – this is topic is heavily treaded.

The Fastest Path toward Adopting Passwordless for PeopleSoft

Establish an SSO through your existing SAML Identity Provider (IdP)

Your IdP is your central means of authenticating users – so use it for critical business applications like PeopleSoft. This is especially important for enabling remote access for high privilege users, because your IdP is the most reliable way to authenticate. Having to provision identity outside of your IdP just adds complexity. Establishing a SAML Single Sign-On for PeopleSoft is the best way to enable secure, seamless access without adding the complexity of a customized solution.

Implement Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) at App & Transaction levels

Adopting a multi-factor authentication (MFA) can be one of the fastest ways to a passwordless system. An MFA secures authentication with two or more factors: Something that a user is (biometrics), Something that the user knows (password), Something that a user has (an OTP, or a security token.)

Adaptive MFA enables additional authentication steps that align with the level of risk posed by the user. If combined with an SSO, an MFA can challenge a user if you feel their session could have an element of risk (unfamiliar location, device, outside of business hours, etc.) Using a combination of factors not only eliminates PeopleSoft passwords – it drastically decreases the likelihood of a successful data breach. And, as a bonus, provides a better user experience.

Appsian Supports Passwordless with Data-Centric Security

Appsian enables your security posture to be data-centric, not user-centric. Users have passwords and users lose passwords. Appsian enables your security policies to be aligned with the data a user is attempting to access. Thus, you are not relaying on a password to prevent unauthorized access – you’re able to rely on the true identity of the user.

Data-centric security in conjunction with solutions (SSO & MFA) that enable you to use your central authentication mechanisms (AzureAD, ADFS, OKTA, etc.) eliminate the need and liability of users having PeopleSoft passwords. Resulting in better security, productivity, and user experience.

Conclusion

As you “celebrate” World Password Day, we should all be reminded that the landscape has changed forever. Remote access, blended access, etc will be the new way of life and relying on passwords is no longer the most reliable way to maintain security.

The stakes are too high and while there may feel like a never-ending list of priorities, adopting a passwordless security model should be at the top of the list.

Contact us to learn how we can enable your rapid adoption of a passwordless PeopleSoft authentication strategy.

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