Beyond Identity shows glimpse of password-free future
Beyond Identity hopes to rid the world of one the bugbears of modern life: passwords.
The company, fronted by Jim Clark (Netscape) and Tom ‘TJ’ Jermoluk (@Home Network), is a specialist cybersecurity outfit that believes passwords are fundamentally insecure, citiing a Verizon report that estimates more than 80 per cent of hacking-related breaches are the direct result of stolen credentials.
How does Beyond Identity work?
Beyond Identity’s solution entirely changes the way users log in to the network with a server-to-server chain of trust using X509 certificates. That’s the same certification used by your browser for https, also known as transport layer security (TLS).
That passes the private key security to device level which, Beyond Identity says, is the most secure environment. Biometrics, fingerprinting and PIN codes have all proven difficult to hack, even at government agency level. The public key is useless without access to the private key.
Can companies use Beyond Identity?
Yes, in fact they’re the primary focus of Beyond Identity’s work, both for employed teams and for customers. The company claims ditching passwords will save money and strengthen security on both counts.
Is Beyond Identity expensive?
No, it’s just become free. Free to use with unlimited users and upgrades. There is an ‘advanced’ package (at $6/month) which gives technology management high-level visibility of logs and supports more elaborate installments.
So the future is password free?
If Beyond Identity has its way, yes. And with the announcement that it is offering its technology to companies and individuals for free, that looks increasingly likely. The days of password managers, ‘forgot password’ links and increasingly stringent rules about which characters are necessary/allowed could soon be over.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”