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What is Authentication as a Service (AaaS)

Authentication as a Service offers cloud-based authentication capabilities, allowing financial institutions to securely verify their consumers using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

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Introduction

Cloud services provide ready-to-use solutions for a variety of issues, including Authentication. Purchasing and managing authentication and management solutions can be costly and time-consuming for enterprises. Authentication as a Service is a more straightforward and cost-effective solution for identity management.

Authentication as a Service offers cloud-based authentication capabilities, allowing financial institutions to securely verify their consumers using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Financial institutions are migrating to the cloud, relieving themselves of the need to operate, upgrade, and replace on-premises authentication equipment and technology.

The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the ongoing digital development, and clients now anticipate more digital experiences with their banks. Authentication as a Service enables financial institutions to eliminate network infrastructure repair and replacement expenses while reducing fraud.

They can also scale up or down in response to user demand. Authentication as a Service improves and streamlines authentication across applications and channels. It supports a variety of hardware and software authentication methods and can be upgraded to support more comprehensive authentication solutions like adaptive Authentication or risk-based Authentication. This article covers detailed knowledge of Authentication as a Service (AaaS).

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AaaS Architecture

Both AaaS providers and their clients are worried about maintaining a high level of security. Various AaaS providers attempt to establish their distinct solutions for cloud service authentication. Though the architecture may alter based on various security measures, the basic principles of Authentication as a Service are the same across providers.

 

 

  • Identity Management

Each AaaS provider can use a different authentication process for their solution, but the essential purpose is to confirm the user’s identity.

 

 

  • Authorization and Access Control

An AaaS provider employs authorization and access control to decide what the user is authorized to do after confirming their identity. Access control can also limit the number of cloud resources and services users can use. This is especially significant in business settings where people have varying jobs and responsibilities.

 

 

  • Security Policy Management

This covers critical security components such as the Service-Level Agreement (SLA), password policy, auditing, and device monitoring. To adequately audit service access or data management, AaaS providers record all security actions based on the user identity. Customers and service providers agree on SLAs to define the foundation for interoperable authentication or identity management solutions.

 

 

  • Key and Certificate Management

AaaS providers issue encryption keys and certificates to secure access to cloud services. However, there is serious concern regarding the security of the site where credentials are kept. If a supplier offers to store encryption keys in the cloud, the data owner who deposits the key should know how that key can be retrieved. AaaS suppliers attempt to implement the appropriate key protection to prevent unauthorized access. Centralized key and certificate management are intended to store any security object, prevent unwanted access to important data and systems, and enforce encryption key, certificate retrieval, and relocation policies.

 

 

  • Fraud and Anomaly Detection

AaaS providers collect information about a user’s cloud activities to create a baseline user profile. This contains historical data such as prior user transactions, device authentication, and IP addresses, which the system uses to detect anomalies in user behavior. Fraud detection services use customized criteria to detect real-time trends linked with criminal activity.

 

 

  • Authentication Strategy

Each AaaS provider can use a different authentication process for their solution, but the essential purpose is to confirm the user’s identity.

 

 

AaaS: Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) combines two or more authentication factors for identity verification and is used by authentication as a service to secure logins. This might be:

  • Something you are aware of, like an OTP or the response to a hidden question
  • Something you have, such as your mobile device
  • Something you are, such as a fingerprint

 

To establish multi-factor authentication, the authentication procedure must involve at least two different technologies from at least two different technology groups. As a result, while using a PIN with face recognition as a second factor would be deemed MFA, using a PIN in conjunction with a password would not. Additionally, using more than two modes of authentication is permissible. However, seamless authentication is something that more and more people want (the ability to be verified without the need to perform excessive security steps).

 

 

Advantages of Authentication as a Service

 

  • No Need to House Equipment On-Premises

Financial institutions can cut IT department costs by using Authentication as a Service.

 

 

  • No Extra IT staff

IT equipment must be maintained and replaced. A third-party service provider is often responsible for maintaining the equipment on which an application is hosted when using Authentication as a Service. Highly qualified personnel, such as infrastructure engineers, can be reassigned to other IT initiatives rather than wasting their time on maintenance. As Authentication as a Service is passwordless, it eliminates the need for password resets for busy IT teams.

 

 

  • Lowers Operating Costs, Increase Operational Efficiencies

Financial organizations can save money on server equipment, network infrastructure, network maintenance, hosting, and security procedures by using authentication. This results in lower and more consistent running expenses than on-premises deployments, enhancing operational efficiency while ensuring secure access.

 

 

  • Ability to Scale

Authentication as a Service allows institutions to scale up or down to match current demand. This makes purchasing more cloud service capacity less straightforward and expensive than deploying new server infrastructure on-premises.

 

 

How Authentication as a Service Aids in Fraud Mitigation

With cloud-based MFA on proven and dependable security architecture, financial institutions may help safeguard their consumers from fraud threats. So far in 2020, notable data breaches have occurred at Twitter, Zoom, and Marriott, which experienced its second hack in as many years. With so many people still using the same static passwords for various accounts, any data leak, including passwords and email addresses, can have major ramifications for consumers.

 

 

Technologies for Authentication as a Service

AaaS solutions should protect the anonymity of cloud users and the privacy of private and sensitive data. Different cryptographic methods, encryption and decryption techniques, certificates, hashing, digital signatures, and key exchange management are all used to provide confidentiality in the cloud. In a cloud context, secrecy can only be guaranteed by all these safeguards. The authentication and authorization mechanisms and encryption algorithms used in AaaS are covered here.

 

 

Protocols for Authentication

In the cloud, user authentication can be carried out using the following protocols:

  • LDAP Authentication
  • SSH Authentication
  • SAML-based Authentication
  • REST APIs
  • Extensible Authentication Protocol
  • Kerberos Protocol

 

 

Challenges of Authentication as a Service

Identifying the identity of the person or entity requesting access is one of the challenges of Authentication as a Service.

This can be a concern if, for example, someone attempts to obtain unauthorized access to sensitive data. Another issue is that authentication systems are vulnerable to Denial-of-Service attacks, which can prevent legitimate users from accessing resources to which they are entitled.

 

 

Conclusion

Authentication as a Service is a novel identity and access management approach that uses cloud computing resources. AaaS solutions apply the benefits of SaaS to authentication management, saving a business time and money. AaaS providers use a variety of authentication methods, as well as encryption algorithms and protocols, to provide secure cloud authentication.

AaaS is becoming an appealing solution for managing user authentication and authorization as enterprises increasingly migrate to the cloud. AaaS provides a centralized, cloud-based solution for maintaining user IDs, which can help enterprises of all sizes simplify identity management.

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