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What Is Conditional Access and Why Is It Such an Important of IT Security?

What Is Conditional Access And Why Is It An Important Part Of IT Security?

Network access is achieved in over 50% of data breaches via weak credentials, default passwords, or stolen information. In today’s dynamic work environment, conditional access is one of the most effective strategies to secure a person’s credentials and data. A conditional access system allows system administrators to gain control over the level of access people have to software based on the context in which they’re seeking to sign in.

Conditional access provides a layer of protection to a network by allowing an administrator to control distant connections using policies or “conditions.” These criteria go beyond ordinary ID-based authentication to regulate, among other things, a person’s location, the device being used, and the program or file being accessed. Failure to meet these conditions may result in access being refused or the need for additional login credentials. This can be an additional password, mobile device verification, or other similar second-factor approaches.

Employees in hundreds of locations access your organization’s applications and resources daily. Simultaneously, hackers and cyber criminals seek ways to gain access to sensitive data by exploiting gaps in your authentication process.

Conditional access adds extra safety buffers to the workplace that are not easily bypassed. This makes hacking computers and cloud accounts and gaining data access extremely tough. It ensures that colleagues can only access data and apps with a specific code or an authorized device. Conditional access is thus a simple but compelling strategy that enables your colleagues to operate considerably more safely, both at home and at the office.

Advantages of a Conditional Access System

Security

Compromised passwords are the number one cause of data breaches around the world. Passwords, especially those of privileged accounts, are a high-value target for hackers. 

Conditional access significantly improves the security of your systems and cloud accounts by adding factors in beyond just a username and password that hackers can’t easily fake, such as the location of the login or the device being used for login.

User-friendliness

Conditional access is largely automated using system policies, so the person may not even realize it’s in place unless they try to log in beyond the set parameters (such as in the middle of the night). 

The fact that conditional access can be programmed into a system, with all the work of authentication being done behind the scenes, makes it a convent way to increase security without risking a drop in productivity. 

Aids Data Privacy Compliance

With conditional access, you can protect data at the device level, reducing the risk of personally identifiable information (PII) getting into the wrong hands. By using this type of policy, you can automate monitoring for anomalies and the responses when certain risk conditions are met. For example, blocking access to a cloud storage account if access is originating outside an approved geographic area.

Categories of Conditional Access

The various categories of conditional access are as follows:

Choosing which devices have access to the network.

A typical application of conditional access is determining which devices have cloud access. This permits you to restrict network access to only business devices, ensuring that unwelcome people and potentially unprotected private devices are kept out—a fantastic approach to maintaining control over your workstations.

Enforcing Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a well-known example of a control that can be enforced with conditional access.  In reality, you only need to go through two stages as a person to gain access to the workspace. Consider the initial step of entering a login and password. In this step they provide something they “know”. Multi-factor authentication requires another proof that the person requesting a login is indeed that person. So, they have to prove it with something they “have”, a code generated from a phone app, perhaps. Conditional access policies can determine if the second factor is necessary or not. If it is a recognized device in a recognized location in a certain time frame, MFA might not be required for this login session.

How Conditional Access Works 

Conditional access works on the following bases: 

Location

Administrators can request extra permission or even prohibit access based on the location of the access request. Conditions can be established to authorize requests from specific locations, such as branch offices, or to require enhanced protection for any sites outside the jurisdiction of your IT department, such as those beyond a 100-mile radius of headquarters.

Enhances Admin Experience

Conditional access technology reduces your workload as an IT administrator by automating cloud and network security. With a well-thought-out conditional access policy in place, you can be confident that the network login process is sufficiently secure and does not necessitate further work. Furthermore, the policy eliminates the requirement for MFA at every login attempt, minimizing login problems and, as a result, the number of help desk tickets you must handle.

Endpoints

Staff devices, such as individual laptops and smartphones, can have restricted access. This includes restricting the number of employee-owned endpoints connected to your company’s network. Access can also be restricted to specific devices under the control of your IT department.

Individuals

Individuals or groups may be granted varying levels of network access based on their requirements or authorization rank. Only people whose jobs necessitate the usage of sensitive data or resources are given remote access to them. People with lesser authorization levels will be denied entry or required to provide further authentication.

Login

The system determines whether or not access requests are secure and assesses the security risks associated with such requests. This stops malicious or careless agents from gaining access to your network.

Learn More About Using Conditional Access at Your Business

Allow your outsourced IT professionals to manage this crucial aspect of your organization. At Skyline IT Management, we offer a systematic approach to delivering rapid, simple, and secure access with IT participation and maximum speed and simplicity. We work hard to keep your technology working smoothly. 

You can reach us online or by phone at 405-594-9282 today.