One-third of businesses do not require strong external authentication to access corporate networks

Reliance on a traditional username and password verification criticised in the modern age of authentication.

A survey by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Symantec found that organisations are unnecessarily leaving themselves open to unauthorised access. It called the use of traditional password verification 'antiquated' in the era of cloud computing, collaboration tools and smartphones.

The survey found that password issues are the top access problem in the enterprise, as password policies have grown more cumbersome and error-prone, particularly as password composition requirements, duration before password expiration and multiple passwords to access corporate resources have inundated users.

Also, only 33 per cent of respondents do not require strong authentication from their partners to access corporate networks. The report, which surveyed 306 enterprises with 1,000 to 20,000+ employees, determined that moving towards implementing strong authentication throughout the enterprise and not just for select applications was the best policy, as was ensuring that open enterprise initiatives such as Software-as-a-Service and partner access are protected at the same level as inside the organisation.

Atri Chatterjee, vice president of user authentication at Symantec, said: “The IT landscape is changing so dramatically and so rapidly that one in four organisations are requiring users to remember six or more passwords to access corporate networks and applications. As this study shows, that approach to authentication is collapsing under its own weight.

“Today's strong authentication offers a way to easily manage and control access to enterprise applications and networks via both computers and mobile devices, it also achieves this with a cost-effective, service-based delivery model that solves the old shortcomings of costly, premise-based solutions. As enterprises continue to open up, strong authentication can help keep the bad guys out.”

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