Security moving decentralized: Who owns my password?

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As we collectively embrace the cloud technology, we are seeing a shift in systems that are centralized in business. We can see that especially in relation to the Microsoft Windows Active Directory model. The IT needed a way to keep its costs low and ensure high reliability.  The old security and administration model is based on a centralized server on which IT administrators manage all credentials. This model was designed to keep the costs low and for ensuring high reliability. The Active Directory model was organized around a private network for common services such as a file, email and print servers etc.

Why do we need a security model?

Many businesses ask about the need of this security model and its association with installation and regular maintenance costs. As employees use their smart phones, tablets, personal laptops and other smart devices, they need access to work resources. The need to connect multiple devices that are not owned by the organization 24 hours a day and 7 days a week is resulting in a move away from centralized security based on the network. The movement of data is facilitated by the cloud technology because people are accustomed to get their applications and data on their own.

The trend of cloud technology is moving away from the local private network security to two different decentralized security models.

The first model is application security model. For example, in the cloud, the SaaS software application is protecting your data through passwords. We are all accustomed to provide our usernames and passwords in order to access our email, social media and other online accounts. You will have control over the environment as well as access to manage your data once you logged in.

The second model is simply file-based security model. Traditionally, the files were shared over a security private network in an unprotected way. You could only open the file if you had an access to protected network resources. One of the first uses of password management at the document or file level was to work with an external layer on a contract using Microsoft Word revisions. It was a common practice to encrypt a file with a password and then move the file back and forth through emails. It was understood why it was done. Only the persons that had access to the file’s password had access, even if the file was distributed among and insecure public network. We are moving more and more to individual files that have protection, which allows us to easily share those files in the cloud with services like Dropbox or Google Drive etc. Decentralized security has some implications, the most obvious of which is password administration. The passwords in this new template are scattered and a password management service is used since the open source tools like KeePass will be valuable. This kind of service allows you to store all the passwords of all your online systems and computer resources. You only need to remember the password of your password manager application which will open a world that will help you to create and manage more complex passwords for all your computing resources and needs.

Many SaaS companies are part of the growing decentralized phenomenon. For example: NetSuite has its own credentials and security functions in this new decentralized environment which enables secure distribution and data. Companies like Google with services like Gmail and GSuite, have their own security.

All these changes are driving Windows Active Directory domain. People are increasingly responsible for their computing resources in many ways. Because of this change, the centralized security model is moving to the person who looks decentralized from the perspective of an IT administrator. Embracing this phenomenon can lead to lower costs and higher profits because we need less equipment and care to take care of security.

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