5 Reasons Silicon-Strengthened Security Beats Software-Only Protection

Businesses are moving towards hardware-enhanced security to prevent cyber-attacks.

Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated than ever before which is bad news for businesses, no matter how large or small. Security needs to be top priority for any company in the digital era, in order to safeguard their valuable business assets and customer data. Single password-based systems are no longer a sufficient barrier. That’s why many companies are moving towards multifactor authentication. Increasingly, software-based solutions simply aren’t enough to keep the hackers out, and more businesses are embracing hardware-enhanced security.

This involves security features built directly into the hardware, such as Intel® Authenticate which is designed to verify a minimum of two authentication factors at the hardware level, making it much more difficult for any unauthorised users to gain access and reducing the risk of a security breach.

We’ve pinned down five key reasons silicon-based security is better than software-only protection:

1. Hackers haven’t cracked hardware yet

Hackers are already beginning to circumnavigate the two-step authentication process used by many companies. Software is inherently hackable, and if cybercriminals are able to get through the initial layers of security, the network will be vulnerable if there are no hardware protections in place. This means that login credentials and valuable data are at risk.

Some businesses rely on physical tokens such as key fobs to boost software-based security, but these are often lost or broken and are easily stolen. Integrating authentication into the computer hardware itself is far more effective. True multifactor authentication needs to be grounded in silicon to effectively reduce the risks of being hacked.

2. The choice of authentication factors keeps growing

Multifactor authentication is a combination of something you know, something you are, something you have and someplace you are. For example, something you know could be a password or PIN, something you are can be a biometric element such as a fingerprint, something you have could be a smartphone and someplace you are can be the location of your PC.

Intel® Authenticate enables businesses to choose from a wide range of authentication options, tailoring the login process to suit their individual organisation. And the good news is that the number of authentication factors available continues to grow as new partnerships are established.

“Software is inherently hackable, and if cybercriminals are able to get through the initial layers of security, the network will be vulnerable if there are no hardware protections in place”

3. Better security can boost productivity

Using passive factors as part of the login process can save time and money. For example, biometric factors like fingerprint, face and iris recognition can’t be changed or forgotten. This can dramatically reduce the number of password resets that have to be carried out by IT support1, saving them time and boosting productivity.

The ability to log in seamlessly also means that workers across all departments can make the most effective use of their time, with little or no productivity lost to resetting sign-in credentials.

4. Getting ready for new compliance standards

Security compliance standards are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly stringent. Businesses should be taking steps to meet new requirements such as those in the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Organisations will need to ensure that their IT security meets the required standards in preparation for audits in future.

Businesses can help prepare for the new regulations by introducing hardware-based security technology such as Intel® Authenticate and Intel® Data Guard encryption. Not only will an ability to meet the strict new rules ensure that businesses are well protected against cyber-attacks, it will also reduce the likelihood of any financial penalties.

5. Trojan-horse attacks are unlikely to succeed

Building authentication features into the hardware itself means that obtaining a user’s password, or hacking through the security software will no longer be enough for cybercriminals to compromise a network. Code is too easily manipulated at the software level, which is why having authentication anchored below it, in processing, keeps it out of reach of hackers. As a result, most Trojan-horse attacks are rendered completely ineffective.

“The beauty of multifactor done in the hardware is that you have the best of both worlds: convenience for users and flexibility and control for IT,” says Yasser Rasheed, Director of Business Client Security at Intel. While no security setup is 100 percent foolproof, adding multifactor security into hardware layers will make any cyber intrusions far less likely to succeed and should be a top priority for all businesses in the digital era.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others

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