Security is paramount for any business, especially following the rise in hacking and cyber attacks against firms like Sony, Target, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. While it might be easy for enterprise-level companies to manage, what resources are available for startups and small to medium-sized businesses?
Foxpass has entered the scene with its mission to foster better identity management in the workplace. Started by Aren Sandersen and backed by Y Combinator, it’s a service businesses will be able to use to get the same amount of infrastructure security that large enterprises receive, but at what seems to be a more affordable price.
The company has four different types of plans, with the difference being with how many engineers you’re allowed to have on the account. Why specifically focus on engineers? It’s because of additional permissions and features that engineers are able to tap into within Foxpass.
So why Foxpass? In some companies, it’s possible that employees share the same login credentials when it comes to accessing internal systems such as servers and Wi-Fi. Obviously this isn’t a secure setup, but Foxpass thinks it can bring things up to best practices without resorting to drastic changes in the layout and design of the tools.
Sandersen told VentureBeat that Foxpass functions as an authentication server integrated with Google Apps that companies can use to grant employees access to specific systems. Because he’s dealing with early-stage companies and smaller entities, syncing with Google Apps makes sense. Using this as the identity layer, someone in the company, whether in human resources or IT, can grant that employee specific access. Should the employee leave for whatever reason, access can quickly be disabled without having to change passwords en masse.
What’s more, if an employee needs access to a specific server or directory inside the company’s network, Foxpass grants system administrators the ability to apply specific time limits. If you needed access to a payments server, your administrator could grant you access for an hour, a day, or however long they’d like. Access would automatically be terminated once that time limit was reached.
Leveraging Foxpass, DevOps and IT managers should have the capability to efficiently manage access to their company’s servers, wireless network, VPN, and more. In addition, should secure shell (SSH) keys be needed, Foxpass will automatically enforce the company’s policy so they’ll be removed from the system automatically, without a manager needing to remember to do it manually.
Foxpass’s authentication server is compatible with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), a directory service protocol that companies use to tap into non-Wi-Fi infrastructure. It also integrates with the Radius authentication dial-in user service most customers use to manage Wi-Fi access.
So why start with the SMB market? Sandersen said that it’s easier to establish good identity practices earlier, when a company is young. When he used to run developer operations at Pinterest, he claims that because a product like Foxpass didn’t exist, implementing a secure identity system with 80 employees was tough.
Although Foxpass currently supports only Google Apps, it’s quite possible that integration with Microsoft software could be in its future.
Sandersen said that Foxpass is targeting senior DevOps specialists or IT managers to show the potential of the product. He wouldn’t disclose specifically how many customer companies Foxpass has, only that there are “double-digit number of companies” with “a handful of paying customers.”
He did disclose, though, that academic institutions are using Foxpass, mainly to provide access to the school’s Wi-Fi network. Sandersen explained that educators would assign Google accounts to students for various reasons, so schools would leverage that to give them access to just the student Wi-Fi network. Through Foxpass, students trying to access the private teacher Wi-Fi wouldn’t be able to, due to the permission settings within the platform.
Foxpass is focused on helping manage identities within a company’s internal infrastructure. If you’re using an enterprise social network or anything externally, this product won’t help you. But in an era where security needs to be heightened following a string of phishing, hacking, and other cyber intrusions, businesses need to be prudent in how they’re protecting their infrastructure. Foxpass is offering itself up as a more affordable resource for any small to medium-sized business — no more excuses.
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