There is no doubt that cloud computing opens up entirely new realms of efficiency for small and medium sized companies that choose to employ it, but this new paradigm for computer environments also comes with profound challenges. One of the most potent is the issue of authentication. When a user logs into a cloud service, he or she will typically have to supply a user name and the accompanying password, but dual authentication procedures mean that other items such as tokens and certificates must be in place. This would not necessarily be a problem if a given company used only a single cloud based service, but the typical company is using several, each of which requires different authentication procedures.
The result is a level of complexity that can make using the cloud-based service onerous for some employees. Common coping mechanisms include writing authentication codes and passwords down and leaving them in the open. Even more alarming, perhaps, is the tendency for users to adopt the same user name and password on each cloud service they use. Both of these strategies create immediate and serious security concerns.
Businesses in this situation should carefully consider working with an IT consulting firm to simplify their authentication procedures. This can be done through leading software systems that provide ‘single sign on’ for services based in the cloud. In short, the user demonstrates to the sign on system that he or she is in fact the person signing on. The system then interacts with the cloud based services, freeing the user of the need to keep track of what could potentially be dozens of different password and user name combinations.