Why User Authentication is Essential for Cloud-Based Systems

Cloud-enabled workforce models to disrupt and shape future Asia Pacific workplaces: Colliers Research - The Economic TimesAs businesses move more of their services on to web-accessible, cloud-based platforms, the need for robust security grows increasingly important. One key element of this security is controlling who has access to your data and applications. To strengthen security, reduce risk and improve compliance, it is essential that only authorised users get access to a company’s system and that authentication is required before that access is granted.

Cloud authentication explained

Cloud authentication is the means of verifying that someone logging in to a cloud-based platform is the person they claim to be. It is a way of preventing stolen usernames and passwords being used to log in to the system. The user’s identity is authenticated by cross-referencing information stored on a database with information held by the user, such as PIN numbers, biometric data or the use of secret questions. If the information provided by the user is identical to that stored in the database, authentication takes place and access is granted.

Authentication isn’t just required for people. Companies may also require external machine access to carry out automated services, such as cron-jobs, remote backups, auto updates and remote system monitoring. In these instances, too, it is crucial that external apps are authorised so that hacking bots disguised as genuine apps don’t slip through the security net. Authentication in these areas can be done through the use of digital certificates and APIs.

Authentication and authorisation

Authentication Vs. Authorization | Difference between Authentication and Authorization - javatpoint

Authorisation is the granting of permissions for individuals to access different parts of a system. It is not desirable, in any organization, for every user to have the same permissions. Access to sensitive data, for example, might be restricted to only certain staff.

One of the advantages of authentication is that it helps prevent unauthorised users from accessing data they do not have the authority to see. In particular, it will stop employees who have forgotten their own passwords being able to log in using their colleagues account details and gaining access to all the areas they have permission to use.

Why authentication is so important

What Is a User Authentication Policy? - Cisco

Preventing unauthorised access to cloud-based systems is vital. Hacked companies face enormous consequences: operational downtime, significant fines, potential lawsuits, reputational damage, industrial espionage and ransom. Customers can suffer just as much as companies too, with financial information being sold on the darknet and sensitive data being leaked across the internet. Lose personal data under GDPR and you could face a fine of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover.

Authentication is a process which protects web-based systems from hackers and without it, your entire system is vulnerable. Cybercriminals use seriously advanced software that can crack usernames and passwords and they also use other techniques to phish for credentials from employees. Authentication provides an extra layer of security, using information that hackers can’t use. In this way, they are prevented from getting access.

Practical authentication

Types of two-factor authentication, pros and cons: SMS, authenticator apps, YubiKey | Kaspersky official blog

One challenge for businesses that use cloud-based systems is how to balance ease of use with strict security. Strong security is essential, but it can also be a hassle for users who need a quick and convenient way to log on. There is a range of different methods which can be used, here are two of the most common.

Two factor and multifactor authentication

Is two-factor authentication (2FA) as secure as it seems? - Malwarebytes Labs | Malwarebytes Labs

To increase security, many organisations require two-factor authentication. This consists of a password plus one additional piece of information. Multifactor authentication requires a password and up to four other methods of verification.

There are four ways that a users ID can be authenticated, these are:

1. Asking for something the user knows, such as a PIN, date of birth or the answer to a secret question.

2. Using something the user has in their possession: customers may be required to get a code from a card reader or be sent a code to their smartphone.

3. Biometric data: the user may have to provide biometric data such as a fingerprint, photograph or retina scan.

4. Location data: smartphone GPS data and computer Mac addresses can also be used to verify the location of the user.

The need for strong authentication

Why You Need Advanced Authentication to Protect User Identities

The term ‘strong authentication’ is used to describe systems where authentication is robust enough to guarantee its security. What ‘robust enough’ means, however, depends upon the needs of the system, how critical its apps are, how sensitive the data it holds and the type of organisation it belongs to.

Some organisations may be adequately protected by two-factor authentication, however, for those with high-security requirements, multifactor authentication is the standard practice.

Many companies are now using smart card technology for authentication. Here, biometric data, passwords and other vital information is stored on a smart card and the card is used by inserting it into a reader and inputting a PIN. Contact less cards can also be used by tapping against an RFID reader. Lots of organizations use the same card to grant physical access to the companys premises.


Authentication is essential for organisations wanting to keep their systems and data secure, especially when it based in the cloud and can be accessed over the internet. To ensure your system is well protected, you should, as a minimum, use two-factor authentication. However, if you hold sensitive personal data or run critical applications online, then multifactor authentication may be the safest option.

10 Essential Features of a Cloud Backup Service

The best cloud backup services in 2021 | Tom's Guide

What would happen to your company if it lost all its data? If your critical apps, website, database and all the essential information you need to run your business suddenly vanished. You may be tempted to say that it doesn’t bear thinking about. But it does, because it happens. Hard drive failure, acts of God, human error, hacking, all these things and more can result in data death and without a backup, there’s no chance of a quick recovery.

Backups should be non-negotiable. Without them, there’s a significant risk of business failure. With them, disasters can be overcome quickly, enabling your company to get back on its feet.

That said, not all backup solutions are the same. Today, many companies have shifted their backups to the cloud as a way speed up recovery, save money and benefit from improved services. In this post, we’ll explain why cloud backups are so popular and what to look for in a provider.

Cloud backups explained

Considerations When Selecting Cloud Backups | Anderson Technologies

Cloud backup is third-party service that enables customers to store data, remotely, on the internet. Businesses using the cloud can backup, manage and recover data much more easily than with traditional methods that require additional, on-site storage.

The cloud offers flexibility to cope with varying storage requirements, provides affordable pay as you go pricing and gives complete control over what data is saved and how frequently you choose to back it up.

10 features you should look for in a good backup service

1. Storage space

Expand your storage space:Top 10 Cloud Storage and Backup Applications – Indian CEO

Cloud providers charge customers based on the amount of data storage they use. Whilst this works out less expensive than buying your own storage servers, you still need to consider what your likely requirements are. This will entail looking at the size of a single backup and then multiplying this by the number of backups you want to preserve at any point in time. This will help you compare the rates of individual providers.

2. Look for scalable storage

New approaches to scalable storage

The amount of data you need backing up can vary. As your company grows, your storage requirements are likely to increase and, if you occasionally carry out large-scale projects, you might want a temporary backup of the data you are using.

A good service provider will let customers increase their storage capacity on a flexible ‘as needed basis, enabling you to scale up with growth or to cover short-term needs.

3. High availability

Four nines and beyond: A guide to high availability infrastructure

What could be worse than suffering a data loss and then finding out that your backup server was offline when you need to do a disaster recovery? One thing can: discovering the server is regularly offline, so your scheduled backups didn’t take place and your critical data didn’t get saved.

It is crucial that your cloud backup provider offers a high availability service that is guaranteed to stay online. If it doesn’t provide 99.95% or higher, go somewhere else.

4. Vendor disaster recovery

Disaster Recovery Planning Step 9 – Vendor List - XSolutions

You use a backup service to protect you in the case of data loss. But what would happen if the vendors backup server went down? Before choosing a backup service, make sure that it has its own disaster recovery plan in operation too.

Most service providers have multilocation backups which store several copies of your backups at different data centres. So, even if a fire takes out a complete data centre, one of the copies stored elsewhere can be brought online immediately. Make sure your service provider has this solution in place.

5. Backup frequency as required

What Does Backup Frequency Mean in a Backup Program?

Some businesses need to back up their data far more frequently than others. If you have a busy eCommerce business, for example, you may need constant backups so that you do not lose any very recent transactions if data is lost.

Some backup services give customers total control over the frequency of their backups and enable them to be scheduled at times which are most convenient. Others only offer a limited number of backups and at times scheduled by the vendor. Make sure you choose the option which best suits your company’s needs.

6. Backup security

Backup & Secure

The security of your cloud backups is highly important when you consider the number cyber attacks that take place. If you are passing that security to a third-party, make sure they have robust measures in place to keep your data out of the hands of hackers.

Ideally, they should have intrusion prevention, 256-bit encryption for storage and data transfer, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Protection (TLS) and use multilocation data storage. In addition, the physical data centres should also be well-guarded with security staff, CCTV and access control in place.

7. Data compliance

Do you know your IT and Data Compliance responsibilities? - Bremmar IT

Data regulation is getting stricter all the time. If you hold personal information you are required to comply with the Data Protection Act and the new GDPR regulation. Even if your data is backed up by a third-party cloud provider, you are still responsible for it. Make sure, therefore, that your provider meets industry standards and follows best practice to help you stay compliant.

8. 24/7 technical support

How to Provide 24/7 Customer Service Without Hiring More Reps - Salesforce Canada Blog

Backups are essential if you need to recover from a data loss. However, if a disaster does happen, the technical difficulties in getting back online quickly can be challenging. It’s times like these when you need a service provider that does more than simply provide a backup server.

To give yourself the best chance of meeting your Recovery Time Objective, you need a provider that can assist with the technical issues no matter what time of day. To ensure this happens, choose a cloud backup provider that offers expert, 24/7 technical support.

Ideally, support should be available via telephone, online chat and email. This way, should one communication channel be unavailable, there are others you can still use to get the problem solved.

9. Read the T & Cs

Should There Be Tighter Restrictions on T&Cs?

Check any terms and conditions carefully before signing up to a backup service. A good cloud backup provider will give guarantees and SLAs to ensure you receive an effective service. Also, check if there are any limitations that might prevent your company carrying out backup operations in the way it needs.

10. What customers think

How to Find Out What Your Customers Really Think

The quality of the backup service and how well it suits the needs of your company should always be your main priority. If you are unsure about a cloud backup provider, we always recommend looking at customer reviews as these often provide a useful insight into the quality of the company, the services it provides and the support it gives its clients.


From reading this post you should have a clear understanding of how critical it is to back up your data. You should also see how cloud backups provide a quick, flexible and cost-efficient way to back up, store and recover data in the event of a disaster. Hopefully, the 10 points we have raised will help you find the right provider to look after your data.

error: Content is protected !!