The Biological Interface Problem Solved by a Refreshed LastPass Offering
A common joke among IT Helpdesk personnel is to refer to many support issues they encounter as stemming from the “biological interface”, AKA, human error in the use of technology. In cybersecurity terms, the human element has much more serious implications, being the cause of 85% of breaches in the protective layers of organisations. The unfortunate reality is that people follow links in phishing emails, share login credentials, and use the same password (or a few variations) for every account they access.
It’s simple for IT professionals to give sermons on best cyber practice, but there are few among them (or us) that have never clicked a suspect link in an email or quickly signed up for a service with a previously used or simple-to-brute-force password. The truth is that humans will be humans, and data breaches will occur. For organisations, the only option is to minimise the chances of a successful attack. The fastest way to cut the odds dramatically is to make sure that every employee uses a unique password for every service and piece of hardware they use or own.
That means that when there is an inevitable data breach anywhere in an individual’s online life, the organisation that employs them is not endangered. A password bought online on the dark web or personally hacked by a malicious actor is simply well worth trying everywhere: at personal and business banking sites, at the gateway to stores of commercially sensitive intellectual property, on email servers, or at the point of presence for huge networks of always-connected PCs that are ripe for ransomware.
The situation gets worse. Since BYOD began with the first smartphones, there’s been a mixing of personal and work technology. The sudden necessity for remote work has exacerbated the blurring of lines right across economies. Any separation that might have existed between work and personal life has all but evaporated: it’s perfectly normal for parents to use their kids’ laptop to write a quick work email and for domestic broadband connections to be shared among employees and teenagers who are BitTorrenting suspect files. Family Netflix accounts stand a fairly good chance of being protected by the same password someone uses to access their employer’s financial software.
It’s for these reasons that the recently revamped LastPass Business (neé LastPass Enterprise) now comes with six free LastPass accounts for every employee with a Business license. “Families as a Benefit” means staff can — and should — give a market-leading password manager to five family members, friends or acquaintances. The LastPass apps and browser plugins create unique and practically unguessable passwords and stores them to be unlocked and applied on demand for access to apps, services, sites, and hardware.
At first glance, that feature might appear to be a bonus that the company behind LastPass (LogMeIn) have thrown in as part of a marketing exercise. However, given the reality of life in 2021, by protecting employees and their families and friends, the business protects itself. (For the sake of argument, it protects itself six times better.) At a stroke, risks inherent in shared passwords, or distant hacks that expose simple passwords no longer pose any danger to the commercial company with secrets and data to protect.
There is, naturally, more to the remodelled LastPass Business than the extra accounts. As a business-focused security platform, it comes with a management and deployment dashboard that helps cybersecurity teams issue and decommission highly granular access via pre-defined policies. Users are placed into specific privilege groups with optional expiry dates (good for contractors or freelancers) or mandatory password change scheduling.
LastPass has also refreshed its complementary user apps with a single Authenticator application that combines its previous two LastPass MFA and LastPass Authenticator apps into one. The new Authenticator provides MFA, one-time passwords (OTP) and biometrics like facial ID or fingerprint for all users. For those interested in securing additional endpoints outside of the LastPass vault, LastPass offers an additional feature that enables employees to authenticate in the virtual workplace via SSO or into corporate VPNs, workstations, or unlimited cloud services. There are also options for organisations that want to use more advanced facilities like geo-fencing login access or IP address-based privileges or limitations.
Out-of-the-box, LastPass Business can connect to three SSO instances. As an organisation grows and its access strategies evolve, companies can add unlimited SSO applications with the additional LastPass SSO offering.
Systems engineer Bryan Veal (Shasta County Office of Education) said, “The new LastPass Business provides us with more options for future growth. Knowing that there’s room to expand into other areas we want, include add-on as needed, [we’ll] stick with LogMeIn as a trusted and proven partner; [it’s] incredibly beneficial.”
Part of the IT function’s remit in 2021 is undoubtedly user education in online hygiene and using technology safely. But by equipping employees and the people around them with these class-leading, easy-to-use tools, companies take huge steps forward in minimizing their cyber risk. As the organisation grows and online presence, its attack surface also expands. The LastPass platform scales with the business, and most importantly, with the people in it, to keep both data and biological interfaces safe.
See how LastPass Business makes employee password management easy and secure with a demo today.
15 September 2021