One important way organizations can strengthen their network and IT security is by strengthening and consolidating the process surrounding network access and authentication, say many security professionals. One solution, from vendor Centrify, can help strengthen authentication across a variety of Microsoft, Linux, Unix, Macintosh, and other platforms. The solution lets IT administrators manage employee access as if each were using Microsoft’s Active Directory.
Consolidated Communications is one company that has implemented that approach. The company needed to do something because making changes to its Unix and Linux servers and systems when, for example, an employee joined or left the company, or when it was necessary to grant network access to temporary contractors, could be time consuming, says Scott Griffith, the company’s senior Unix administrator. The process required a significant amount of programming knowledge, he says, and could be “very unwieldy and clunky,” even, at times, a bit “of a nightmare.”
In addition to improving and strengthening the authentication process across different systems and platforms, Griffith says his company also needed a better way to conduct authentication audits. Consolidated needed to comply with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, he says, which requires organizations to have strong authentication and to effectively audit and produce reports on security and regulatory requirements.
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