IT Industry Looks to MFA to Meet IAM Security Needs


 By Matthew Dubie

Companies in the Information Technology (IT) industry create and maintain the hardware and software we all rely on, at work and at home. Whether a hot new startup or a publicly-traded Fortune 500, IT businesses typically handle large volumes of private data and personally identifiable information (PII) while providing essential services to consumers and businesses worldwide.

But businesses in the IT industry not only produce technology, they also rely on it heavily for their own internal operations. When it comes to developing their products, both proprietary and third-party technology is essential.

Software developers alone rely on a range of tech, including version control systems, automated build pipelines, bug tracking, project management, and more. Servers store large, often searchable databases of user information that helps understand product usage, inform product development, and even influence integrations as well as third-party partnerships.

Of course, the engineering department isn’t the only one relying on technology: From marketing to sales, human resources to finance, teams all across the business rely on technology to perform daily tasks. Plus, in addition to their own data, those organizations – particularly SaaS providers – are often managing data on behalf of their customers – compounding the PII and sensitive data that needs to be properly stored and protected.

In summary, technology is not only what IT businesses do, it’s core to getting their work done.

IT is Focused on the Security Benefits of IAM, and Prioritizes MFA

The near-total reliance on technology brings up important questions about security for IT professionals working in the IT sector. In a recent LastPass study, 77% of respondents in the IT industry indicated securing data is a top priority. Especially for businesses offering Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), preventing loss of customer data is essential for earning and maintaining the trust of their users. To suffer a data breach could be catastrophic, a reality which IT professionals in that industry are well aware of.

A well-executed identity and access management (IAM) strategy is therefore a must for IT businesses, and many already seem to have workable solutions in place. Interestingly, 61% of respondents in IT indicate that upgrading IAM is a priority, compared to the average 65% across all industries, suggesting that IT’s IAM upgrade has already taken place. 47% believe IAM could improve employee efficiency, compared to the average 53% across all industries, indicating that IT remains more focused on security over productivity benefits of any further IAM investments.

Given the challenges of maintaining large amounts of user data as well as a technology-reliant workforce, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a worthwhile investment for IT teams in the IT sector. LastPass’ 2019 Global Password Security Report found that IT is leading among industries in both MFA adoption and security posture, and the trend is expected to continue as MFA options become easier to use, quicker to integrate with existing systems, and overall more budget-friendly. In fact, 28% of respondents in IT say they’re planning to invest in MFA. Adaptive MFA is a natural choice, leveraging biometric and contextual factors to authenticate users in a safe, simple way. Adaptive MFA offers increased friction for abnormal login attempts, all while enabling employees to seamlessly authenticate for low-risk, everyday access.

For the IT industry, the question is not whether to invest in or upgrade their IAM system, but rather to evaluate the gaps in their existing strategy and find cost-effective, scalable ways to address them. Every access point in the business – those known to IT and those used without IT approval – must be appropriately secured. With a baseline IAM strategy already in place, now is the time for IT businesses to invest in added security measures that are readily adopted companywide. With sensitive customer data and business profits on the line, strong security is a must, and adaptive MFA is the logical choice.

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