As remote employees, app-driven work and instantaneous functionality become the workplace norm, status quo IP-based security tends to slow users down. Further, its security is quickly becoming inferior to the more comprehensive user-based security model enterprises are switching to. Let’s take a look at the benefits of user-based security and how it fits into the new push for intent-based networking (IBN).
The Difference Between User-Based and IP-Based Security
IP-based security grants or blocks network access based on whether a device signs onto the local network’s IP address. In the office, this generally happens automatically; however, accessing the office network remotely often requires a VPN, sometimes layered with cumbersome security.
User-based security, by contrast, monitors network access by device and user information, like a username and password. By identifying activity by user rather than IP address, managers can establish roles and permissions to automatically assign appropriate software and data access to anyone on the network. This way, employees can access the office network and all their applications and data from anywhere without taking additional steps or risking security.
Mobility Changed Everything
With remote work on the rise, a pervasive BYOD culture and tech-natives entering the workforce, employees using their mobile devices for work is inevitable.
This throws a big wrench into IP-based security.
First, while office-bound devices predictably log onto the local network’s IP address, mobile ones do not. Often, companies solve this by requiring employees to use a VPN when logging in remotely.
But here’s the catch: if employees can use a VPN to get into the office network, so can hackers. Usually, companies address this issue by adding security to the VPN, like time-sensitive multi-factor authentication codes. However, these tend to be tedious and don’t exactly encourage the instantaneous functionality today’s employees expect. The alternative, though, is skipping these security steps and leaving the network open to VPN-based attacks, IP spoofing, and other vulnerabilities.
The Benefits of User-Based Security
In our environment of dynamic and sophisticated threats, single-layer security is hardly enough to reliably guard against an attack.
User-based security accounts for this by taking more than just IP address into consideration when restricting or allowing access to a network. Instead, user-based security networks identify users at an individual-level with username and password credentials, biometric passwords, dual factor authentication and more. While user-based security may still check IP addresses, they are not the only barrier to network access.
Devices Aren’t People
While an IP address can identify a device’s local network, it can’t guarantee that a particular human being is on the other end. While not as likely as a remote hacker infiltrating a network through a VPN or spoofed IP address, someone could still hack an IP-based security network by using an employee’s device. With IP-based security, access to a network-connected device equals access to the network.
User-based security prevents this with user-specific information. Even if a bad actor were to gain access to an on-network device, they would need the user’s login credentials, email access, phone, fingerprint or other data, depending on the organization’s security measures.
Role-Based Access Control
Network IP addresses aren’t tied to app logins or other security protocols; once you’ve logged onto an IP-approved device, you’re in. Therefore, IP-based security precludes user-based segmented access.
With user-based security, by contrast, managers can create roles and assign them to users through role-based access. This way, a manager could simply mark a user as an administrator, editor, user or another role to apply a blanket set of privacy controls to their account.
Further, user-based security enables managers to grant or restrict software access based on the user and their permissions. For example, a Google-based office might enable an employee to access all applications except for its client database and files once they’ve signed into their Google account. Managers can restrict sensitive applications or information with an extra password, passcode or other security measures before the user is allowed access.
Role-based permissions and segmented access help save time, standardize processes, improve security and ensure compliance.
Taking User-Based Security to the Next Level with IBN Security
User-level security is one facet of intent-based networking (IBN), Cisco’s AI-based answer to autonomous networking. IBN eliminates the need for IT to monitor network activity and make manual decisions about suspicious activity. Instead, IBN takes that monitoring and decision-making into its own hands through AI and machine learning. IBN intuitively understands networking goals and adjusts its processes to meet them in real time. This includes user-based security, which IBN employs to ensure a safer networking environment. IBN learns what looks normal and what looks suspicious at the user level to adapt its policies over time for ever-improving security.
With IBN, businesses streamline processes, simplify remote access, improve security and ensure compliance – all while freeing up IT management time to work on mission-critical functions.
Acadia helps businesses develop, implement and transition to an IBN security model tailored to them. Visit our website to learn more about IBN security and how it could revolutionize your business operations.
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