Cloud Challenges: #4 Cost


Passwords in the cloud - costIn earlier posts, we considered issues of security and control when it comes to mobile devices and the cloud. As one effective solution, we put forward single sign-on – a framework which would allow an organisation to tap into cloud services while keeping control over digital identities in-house.

In addition to increased security, another great advantage would be cutting down expenses. In the long run, one of the most expensive forms of IT security is actually using fixed passwords. Administrating multiple credentials is highly error-prone and time-consuming. Each manual password reset also takes its toll.

In addition, single sign-on can keep licensing costs down. When managing identities centrally, it is possible to provide access to cloud services just to people who really use them. This is especially important for services priced based on the number of users.

Most importantly, having a company-wide policy of strong authentication contributes to avoiding the cost of a potential breach. Brand damage and a loss of consumer confidence can have a tremendous impact on a business. Even simply restoring lost information takes time and incurs expenses. One of the most infamous incidents in recent years was the Sony Playstation hack in 2011. The total cost of the attack was $171 million and that´s not even counting damage in brand reputation.

Still, despite the benefits discussed so far, effects on the end user have to be taken into account. A security solution which is too confusing and difficult to use defeats its own purpose. Can we reconcile security with usability, or even leverage security to boost productivity? Well, if banks could make huge gains in productivity by moving banking services to the internet using the right level of security, there is definitely something to learn for other industries as well. In the next blog we will take a closer look into this.