What is RBA (Risk-based Authentication) and How Can It Make Your Enterprise More Secure


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Easy access to data, servers, information (and the likes) is vital for the smooth running of a business. However, protecting all of these is equally as important. If unauthorized access to critical data occurs, your business runs the risk of losing its reputation and competitive posture. It will also pose a threat to your company’s brand equity.

Not to mention, the increase of remote and mobile employees results in greater risk. Therefore, better security, RBA, and access management are crucial. By assessing the possibility of account compromise with each login, RBA helps manage the dangers of strange access requests.


In this article, we explore risk-based authentication and how it can make your organization more secure.

What is Risk-Based Authentication

Risk-based authentication or RBA is a strong form of authentication security that calculates the risk of every attempt at gaining access to a server. It gives authentication options to those trying to gain access based on the risk level that they present.

In other words, RBA treats each login that takes place as though there may be a security risk. When someone attempts to log in, RBA assesses the probability of account compromise. If the request seems unusual in any way, that person will need to complete some additional steps in order to gain access and successfully log in.

RBA uses real-time intelligence to gain a complete overview and understanding of every login. For each login attempt, it analyzes various factors, including:
The sensitivity of the requested information.
The network the user is on.
The location of the user.
The user’s device.

By analyzing all this information, the system decides if the user can log in normally using a password, for example, or if they must offer some sort of proof or verification to gain access.

For instance, imagine if there was an access request from a person who has the correct credentials (like username and password). But, the request came from a country in which none of your employees or contractors reside. You might consider this to be strange or irregular. RBA automatically flags requests like this, thereby helping you to mitigate threats and data breaches.

What Authentication Techniques Fit Under Risk-Based Authentication

Challenge and response authentication is a common authentication technique used after the provision of usernames and passwords. It is when the system provides a question, and the user must provide a valid answer.

However, it is not the most secure method. Instead, there are much stronger and more secure techniques you can implement within your organization.

Some examples of these RBA techniques are:

Fingerprint biometrics.

Users must identify themselves by providing their fingerprints. Here, users must have access to fingerprint sensors.

Push authentication.

In this type of system, users will receive a notification via a communication channel and respond by performing a required action.

Smartcards with PKI.

This is a good method for businesses that already have cards in use for other purposes.

One Time Passwords (OTP).

This involves sending a string of numbers to a user’s mobile device (via SMS). This password then verifies the user’s identity on the system or server they are attempting to access.

Mobile device options are often the best as they offer the highest level of verification.

4 Myths About RBA

There are various misconceptions about RBA, and these are worrisome since they often prevent companies from ensuring their own protection. It is time to debunk those myths.

Myth 1 – RBA is mainly for big companies.

While larger organizations possibly stand to lose more in terms of reputation, the fact is that this type of protection is important in all companies. No matter their size. Every organization has sensitive data that they need to protect and should, therefore, consider implementing RBA.

Myth 2 – RBA is too expensive.

As with everything, there are costs attached to RBA. However, the money you risk losing by not having secure authentication protocols will be much more detrimental to your business in the long run.
Your organization could even leverage your existing authentication protocols. And, most employees will already have smartphones, so they won’t have to provide anything more in that regard.

Myth 3 – RBA wastes time.

The simple fact is that additional authentication will only be necessary if the request comes across as very risky, which does not happen often. In fact, according to Mastercard, 80% of transactions should be low risk and therefore require no additional steps.

Myth 4 – RBA is too much effort to maintain.

Updating the system for new potential threats and risk is a very simple and quick process. This contradicts the popular belief that RBA is difficult to maintain.

6 Benefits Industry Leaders Can Leverage From RBA

If you’re not yet convinced that you should implement RBA as soon as possible, here are six benefits you can leverage to convince you of the necessity of RBA further.

Many online shopping platforms, government agencies, and more already use RBA. For this reason, many will already be familiar with the process and will be able to use it easily.
Greater protection. There is nothing more important than protecting your information, data, and servers. With RBA, you’ll have greater protection and thus mitigate several threats.
Safety without inefficiency. In connection with the previous point, you will have efficient safety. It only comes into action when it’s really necessary. As such, you have the protection when it’s needed, but it doesn’t disrupt the flow of your regular users or clients.
Cost-Effective. Security breaches cost money. RBA helps avoid such costs by protecting your information.
Compliance. Many companies must prove that they meet safety requirements. Adopting this security method demonstrates compliance.
Reputation. If your organization does experience an extensive data breach, consumers will blame you. In one incident, hackers gained access to 12 million unencrypted credit card details. If something like this were to happen, it would be detrimental to your organization’s reputation, and you would lose trust with consumers.

Final Thoughts

Adopting RBA in your organization is a must. It brings several benefits and could save your company a lot of money.

With the risk-based approach, you show your customers that you take their security seriously. This can give you a competitive advantage over organizations that fail to use sophisticated authentication procedures. Therefore, there is no reason to put it off RBA any longer.

Rakesh Soni
Rakesh Soni is CEO of LoginRadius, a leading provider of cloud-based digital identity solutions. The LoginRadius Identity Platform serves over 3,000 businesses and secures one billion digital identities worldwide. LoginRadius has been named as an industry leader in the customer identity and access management space by Gartner, Forrester, KuppingerCole, and Computer Weekly.


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