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it roundup

The IT roundup: Security and identity

March 23, 2015
By Vanessa Ulrich

Identity and access management

Microsoft announced Windows Hello last month, biometric identity and access management software built into Windows 10 that will allow users to sign in with their fingerprint, iris or face. The enterprise-grade security system is a big step towards making it harder for hackers to get into personal devices. The biometric authentication will work hand-in-hand with the physical device to create additional levels of security for users—to log in; both the device and the biometric data are required, thwarting remote access by malicious third parties.

Identity and access management (IAM) is critical to the future of technology. “Managing identities and access is critical to the success of the Internet of Things (IoT), but in its current form identity and access management cannot provide the scale or manage the complexity that the IoT brings to the enterprise,” says industry analyst firm Gartner.

Accordingly, a new moniker has been coined—the Identity of Things—to refer to the identity management being built in to the “things” in IoT. 

Balancing security with ease of access for users is tricky, and it’s clear that businesses that create the strongest and most user-friendly IAM processes will profit. The IAM market is estimated to double in the next five years, from $9.16 billion in 2014 to $18.30 billion in 2019.

To learn more about how creating secure, user-friendly IAM processes is benefiting a healthcare organization, read our case study, Guiding the Identity and Access Management Strategy for Yale New Haven Health System.

USB malware

Another evolution in access was announced last month—the new Macbook will come with a single USB Type-C port. While this represents a step ahead for advocates of universal plugs, from a security standpoint it’s stuck in the past. The USB standard is built for compatibility, not security, and so is susceptible to malware that can be introduced by so innocuous an item as a power cord. “We live in a world where we plug in with abandon, and USB-C's flexibility is designed to make plugging in easier than ever,” wrote Mario Aguilar for Gizmodo.

“Nearly everyone with a laptop has shared a power cable at some point,” says Russell Brandom for The Verge, “compared with the much smaller number who have plugged in a stranger's USB stick—so the attack could reach a lot of otherwise protected computers.”


From cyber bullying to drug trafficking to message board trolling, anonymity online can lead to a host of evils. But is anonymity itself a bad thing? Last month, TechCrunch reported that Tor users were being prompted to enter their phone number before creating a new Twitter account, or in some cases, before accessing an existing account. (Twitter denied claims it’s targeting Tor users).

Twitter is a medium that is often used as a free speech outlet for those living without free speech rights, and as such, Parker Higgins for Wired argues that this action “undermines the anonymity of the people who need it most, without necessarily providing protection for targets of harassment.”

Enjoy what you read? Check out the March IT roundup: Spotlight on Big Data.

As part of TEKsystems’ public relations team, Vanessa Ulrich reads everything she can about the technology industry and emerging trends. Vanessa blogs about where technology and society collide, giving context and commentary to top news stories. You can reach her with questions and comments @TEK_PR via Twitter.

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