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Single Sign-On: What it is and how it works

Nowadays, single sign-on (SSO) authentication is required more than ever. Many websites offer users the option to sign up with Google, Apple, or any other service. Chances are you have logged in to something via single sign-on today or at least this week. But do you know what it is, how it works, and why it’s used? Take a deep dive into the world of single sign-on and all things related to it.

What is SSO?

Single sign-on is a session and user authentication service that allows the user to use a single set of login credentials – namely, a username and password – to access multiple websites or applications. Put plainly, SSO allows users to sign up and access a variety of online accounts with a single username and password, thus making things a lot easier for the everyday user. SSO’s primary use is as an identification system that permits websites and apps to use the data of other trusted sites to verify a user upon login or sign-up.

Essentially, SSO puts an end to the days of remembering and entering multiple passwords. An added bonus is that SSO gets users out of the vicious password reset loops.

Additionally, SSO can be great for business, as it improves productivity, security control, and management. With a single security token (a username and password), IT professionals can enable or disable a user’s access to multiple systems, which in some cases mitigates cybersecurity risks.

So, how does the magical service work?

How does SSO work?

Single sign-on is a component of a centralized electronic identity known as federated identity management (FIM). FIM, or Identity Federation, is a system that enables users to use the same verification method to access multiple applications and other resources on the web. FIM is responsible for a few essential processes:

  • Authentication

  • Authorization

  • User attributes exchange

  • User management

When we talk about SSO, it is important to understand that it is primarily related to the authentication part of the FIM system. It’s concerned with establishing the user’s identity and then sharing that information with each platform that requires that data.

Fancy jargon aside, here are the basic operational processes of single sign-on:

  • You enter a website.

  • You click “Sign In with Apple” or any other service.

  • The site opens Apple’s account login page.

  • If you’re already logged in, then it gives the site your data.

  • You are logged in to your Apple account.

  • Apple’s site verifies that you are authorized to access the site.

  • If you’re authorized, the site creates a session for you and logs you in.

In technical terms, when the user first signs in via an SSO service, the service creates an authentication cookie that remembers that the user is verified. An authentication cookie is a piece of code stored in the user’s browser or the SSO service’s servers. Next time the user logs in to that same app or website using SSO, the service then transfers the user’s authentication cookie to that platform, and the user is allowed to access it. It’s important to highlight that an SSO service doesn’t identify the exact user since it does not store user identities.

What is an SSO Token?

An SSO token is a digital unit that contains data about a particular user such as their email address. The token is used to transfer user information from one system to another during the single sign-on process. For the recipient to verify that the token comes from a trusted source, it has to be signed digitally.

The SSO service creates a token whenever a user signs in to it. The token works like a temporary ID card which helps identify an already verified user. This means that when the user tries to access a given app, the SSO service will need to pass the user’s authentication token to that app so they can be allowed in.

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Single-Sign-On Costs

Because many of the SSO solutions currently available on the market are cloud-based, most of them are offered in a monthly subscription model. The price of a cloud-driven SSO solution designed for small and mid-sized businesses can range from $1 to $10 per user per month.

However, those that want to get an SSO solution designed for a big enterprise will need to either pay more each month or make an entry fee. Enterprise-grade solutions are usually more wide-ranging and require vendors to customize them to each of their client’s needs and requirements. Hence, the price difference.

Is single sign-on secure?

Yes. An SSO protocol is secure when implemented and managed properly and used alongside other cybersecurity tools.

The main benefit introduced by single-sign on with regard to cybersecurity is that, because it allows using a single set of credentials for multiple services, there are fewer login details to be lost or stolen. As long as the server is secure and an organization’s access control policies are established, a malicious user or an attacker will have little to no chance to do any damage.

However, this benefit could also pose a certain kind of risk. Since SSO provides instant access to multiple accounts via a single endpoint, if a hacker gains access to an authenticated SSO account, they will also gain access to all the linked applications, websites, platforms, and other online environments.

This issue can be easily mitigated by implementing an additional layer of security known as Multi-Factor Authentication. Combining SSO with MFA allows service providers to verify users’ identity while giving them easy access to applications or online platforms.

The benefits of SSO

Reduced password fatigue

With SSO in place, users only have to remember one password, making life a lot easier. Password fatigue is real and dangerous. SSO encourages users to come up with a single strong password rather than using a simple one for each account separately. It also helps users escape the vicious cycle of password reset loops.

Increased employee and IT productivity

When deployed in a business setting, SSO can be a real time saver. According to a recent report, people waste 16.3 billion hours a year trying to remember, type, or reset passwords. In a business environment, every minute counts. Thanks to SSO, users don’t need to hop between multiple login URLs or reset passwords and can focus on the tasks at hand.

Enhanced user experience

One of the most valuable benefits of SSO is an improved user experience. Because repeated logins are not required, users can enjoy a digital experience with less hassle. This means that users will be less hesitant to use the service. For any commercial web-based service, SSO is an essential part of their user experience.

Centralized control of user access

SSO offers organizations centralized control over who has access to their systems. In a business setting, you can use SSO to grant new employees specific levels of access to different systems. You can also provide employees with a single set of credentials (username and passwords) to access all company systems.

Top single sign-on solutions

Microsoft Azure AD

Microsoft Azure AD includes Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) as an option to support SSO. Azure AD also offers reporting, security analytics, and multi-factor authentication services. It’s perfectly suited for any company that uses the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, no matter its size.

Okta Identity Cloud

Okta is well-established in the world of SSO solutions. They are open-source SSO leaders because of their flexibility and ease of use. Okta offers customizable open identity management in real time according to business needs, as well as two-factor authentication and a password reset functionality. Okta can serve the needs of multiple industries, from education and nonprofits to financial services and the government.

OneLogin Unified Access Management Platform

OneLogin is an open-source SSO provider that is often used for employee access to the company’s cloud-based applications. OneLogin is suited for a variety of IT administrator needs since it is designed to enforce IT policy in real time. It can also be updated according to specific needs if any changes occur, such as an employee leaving.

Idaptive Application Services

Idaptive is primarily suited for small to medium-sized businesses. Idaptive is capable of providing support to many users at once, thanks to their new cloud architecture. The company also offers adaptive MFA, enterprise mobility management (EMM), and user behavior analytics (UBA) all in a single solution.

Ping Intelligent Identity Platform

Ping offers services to large enterprises. The solution can serve anywhere between a few hundred to a few million users. Ping provides both on-premises and cloud options for deploying their solution. Additionally, the service comes with multi-factor authentication.

Does NordPass provide SSO?

Yes, NordPass does provide a single sign-on authentication! It can be set up via NordPass Admin Panel for users who want to log in to the NordPass app with their Microsoft Azure, Google Workspace, or Okta credentials.

This means that if you turn on Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD), Google Single Sign-On, or Okta Single Sign-On, and invite new members who use one of these SSOs, they will be allowed to login in using their Azure AD, Google, or Okta SSO credentials — it’s as simple as that.

About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.

About NordPass
NordPass is developed by Nord Security, a company leading the global market of cybersecurity products.

The web has become a chaotic space where safety and trust have been compromised by cybercrime and data protection issues. Therefore, our team has a global mission to shape a more trusted and peaceful online future for people everywhere.

Storage Beyond Passwords: Securely Save Files in NordPass

Ever been in that awful situation where you’re going through old emails or disorganized folders trying to find that one crucial document? The insurance form, an e-copy of your ID, or even a video detailing how to get into your new office? Wouldn’t it be a game-changer if you had all your important files right next to your passwords, credit card information, or secure notes?

Good news! Today, we are excited to introduce File Attachments — a new and improved way to manage important files with NordPass.

Best for large file attachments

Here’s a quick rundown of how it works. As a NordPass Premium user, you now have the ability to attach files to your saved items in NordPass. It’s not just about enhancing organization. This feature also provides an unmatched level of security. Forget the hassle of disorganized unsafe file storage. Any attached files or documents will be as secure as your passwords thanks to our encrypted storage.

But we didn’t stop at mere functionality. NordPass Premium now provides a whopping 3GB of encrypted storage per account, a giant leap forward. That’s not just more — it’s three times more than any other password manager out there! We’re offering you unrivaled storage and advanced security — and that’s certainly what we call more bang for your buck!

NordPass — The best password manager for large file attachments.

– Attila Tomaschek


No strings attached (except your files)

With NordPass Premium’s File Attachments, you have the freedom to store documents of any type to one of your existing items. Whether it’s a simple JPEG, PDF, MP4, or DOC file — NordPass supports them all.

Supported file types

The new feature allows for files up to 50MB in size and up to 50 attachments per single item. The only limit is your 3GB storage per user — and that’s a whole lot of space for your files.

While we aim at maximizing convenience, your security is always our top priority. To ensure maximum protection, we currently do not support attaching files to shared items or sharing items with files attached.

You can learn more about how to attach files to your NordPass items in our handy help center article.

Streamline your digital life with NordPass

In the digital age, we often juggle tons of files, documents, and data, and that can lead to a disorganized and chaotic personal digital space. With our new File Attachments feature, we look to help you take back control and streamline your digital life by allowing you to save documents in a quick and efficient way

With NordPass Premium, you can now attach important files to all your saved items. Store any file in one secure place with 3GB encrypted storage.

Instant access

When you’re in a hurry, having quick access to your important documents can make all the difference. That’s where File Attachments shine. Need to view a copy of your ID or an important receipt? No problem! With File Attachments, all your vital images or documents are just a few clicks away.

Effortless downloads

It’s not just about attaching and storing your files along with your passwords. It’s also about being able to retrieve them whenever necessary. Suppose you’ve stored financial documents that you need to share with your spouse. With File Attachments, you can quickly and effortlessly download these files directly from NordPass.

Unprecedented control

The File Attachments feature isn’t just about adding another functionality to NordPass. It’s about giving you greater control over your digital life. You get to decide what files to attach, what items those files are attached to, and when to download or delete them. You can also organize your vault in a way that best suits your personal or professional needs.

A single secure place for files and passwords

Take your password manager experience to the next level with NordPass Premium. Don’t just manage your passwords, manage your life. No more scrambling for documents, no more disorganized files, and certainly no more compromised security.

Your life. Your files. One secure place. Start your NordPass Premium journey today and make the most of our File Attachments feature.

About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.

About NordPass
NordPass is developed by Nord Security, a company leading the global market of cybersecurity products.

The web has become a chaotic space where safety and trust have been compromised by cybercrime and data protection issues. Therefore, our team has a global mission to shape a more trusted and peaceful online future for people everywhere.

Cost-benefit analysis of cybersecurity spending

As new data breaches are making the headlines, cybersecurity is becoming one of the most critical elements of a long-term business strategy. To protect their sensitive data and mitigate potential risks, businesses are actively looking for ways to move into the 21st century in terms of their infrastructure. However, as many soon discover, cybersecurity integration within an existing business is rarely a one-click solution.

Even putting all the technical questions aside, cybersecurity raises many questions regarding return on investment. This article will provide a broad overview of how to approach cybersecurity spending. We’ll briefly cover what makes up cybersecurity costs, what factors could affect them, the financial impacts of cyberattacks, potential benefits, and some guidelines on approaching cybersecurity estimates in your company.

Costs of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity spending can mean several things. The exact route will depend on the actual business case and the risks that the company is trying to mitigate. Still, no matter which options your company is considering, this is something where budget constraints will have to become a consideration.

Let’s look at the costs from different cybersecurity ecosystem components: solutions, services, personnel, and training.


One of the go-to routes for organizations looking to shield themselves against cyberattacks is purchasing cybersecurity hardware or software solutions. This allows companies to flexibly integrate them into the infrastructure, strengthening the areas needing attention.

As such, businesses have numerous options available. Cybersecurity hardware and software provide easy access to firewalls, antivirus, access control mechanisms, intrusion detection and prevention systems. When used collectively, these technologies work together to halt cyberattacks or mitigate their impact if they do occur.

While it’s also true that their costs depend on various factors (which we will address later on), let’s look at the average industry costs associated with various cybersecurity solutions. Please note that the distinction between solutions and services isn’t as set in stone as it used to be due to modern service delivery models (like SaaS) and the popularity of cloud computing.


If an organization relies on a network, a firewall is a must as it monitors and controls network traffic. Acting as a barrier between the internet and/or other untrusted networks and your private network, it’s the first defense against malicious connections based on predefined rules.

The tricky part for the comparison is that they can be implemented at different levels of the network stack, i.e., from the network layer (filtering packets) to the application layer (proxy servers). Finally, they can be hardware or software-based, or a combination of both, affecting the final price tag.

Therefore, an average firewall configuration can range between $450 and $2,500 (as a one-off investment not factoring in its maintenance which costs extra). That doesn’t take into account setup or maintenance costs, so the final cost can be higher.

Antivirus software

Antiviruses are still staples to protect computer systems from malware, viruses, and other security threats. As an essential component of comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, they can be used as the last line of defense. Usually, in business settings, they’re deployed across an organization’s network to protect all connected devices.

It’s often the case that antiviruses also include additional features like firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and email filtering to provide further protection against cyber threats. This also makes our comparison more difficult.

Still, if we’re looking for rough estimates, which is what we’re doing here: basic antivirus usually costs between $3 and $5 per user and $5 to $8 per server monthly. While the final price tag will entirely depend on your organization’s size, the estimate could be at least $30 a month if you have around five users.

Spam filters

Business communication primarily still takes place over emails. This is something that hackers are exploiting in phishing attacks. For this reason, having spam filters is essential to identify and block harmful emails before they end up in employees’ inboxes. Spam filters rely on various technologies to analyze the content and metadata of incoming messages to determine whether they are legitimate.

Some email providers offer spam filters already integrated into their suite. Meanwhile, for other cases, it’s required to set up a spam filter on top of it. It’s estimated that the price for this ranges between $3 – $6 per user per month.


What makes cybersecurity services different from cybersecurity solutions is that they’re typically provided by a third-party provider, who may offer the service on a subscription basis. While a cybersecurity service may include various cybersecurity solutions, the two concepts are not interchangeable. Cybersecurity service by definition encompasses ongoing protection against cybersecurity threats.

Frequently this also means that cybersecurity services can help against threats of greater sophistication. This makes them a good pick for organizations looking into securing their digital assets and preventing unauthorized access, theft, and exploitation of sensitive information.


With plenty of employees working remotely, businesses need a secure way for their employees to access company resources. VPN encryption seals the sensitive data in a secure tunnel, enabling secure exchanges to the company’s network. This additional protection layer also helps mitigate cyber threats by masking the user’s IP address.

Yet, as with most cybersecurity components, there are multiple routes to consider here. A VPN could be set up as a hardware stack with ongoing third-party maintenance fees or a software-only solution. This is something that can skew the price.

While the software-only is cheaper and can be up to $10 per user, the hardware setup can range up to $3,500 per device. That’s a significant gap between them, while both options provide similar functionality. The particular business case will be a deciding factor.

Consulting and testing

Cybersecurity consulting and testing service providers have a high level of expertise in identifying and mitigating security risks. This is something that few companies can manage to achieve out of their own resources. Specialized cybersecurity professionals perform various checks to properly evaluate the used cybersecurity measures’ effectiveness and outline the most critical areas.

Due to the nature of their services, this can be a pretty expensive endeavor. A vulnerability assessment for a network with up to three servers would cost $1,500 to $6,000. It goes without saying that if the scope of investigations needs to be broader, this will only add up to the final price tag.

Endpoint detection and response

Businesses turn to endpoint detection and response (EDR) services because they provide high protection against cyber threats by monitoring and detecting potential security breaches. This allows businesses to detect and respond to cyber threats quickly and before they cause significant damage to the organization’s assets, reputation, and financial standing. EDR solutions typically operate through a combination of software agents and cloud-based systems.

Endpoint detection and response solutions cost around $5 to $10 per month per device. Yet, as with most subscription-based services, there are discounts: with more devices, EDR usually becomes cheaper per single device. Still, EDR solutions come in different depths and feature sets, so the final cost can be higher.


Personnel is one of the most important cybersecurity assets at any company’s disposal. These specialists will protect your data from various forms of cyberattacks and ensure the risks are minimal. Whatever cybersecurity solutions or services you’ve purchased, the IT personnel will set up and maintain those tools.

Cybersecurity doesn’t become an integral part of an organization’s DNA just by purchasing some subscriptions. It needs to be cultivated. One way to ensure this is sustainable is to develop security policies and protocols — exactly what cybersecurity personnel will do.

Network administrators

Network administrators are responsible for setting up and maintaining the organization’s network infrastructure. They must ensure the network is secure from unauthorized access and that all transmitted data is protected from interception and other potential threats. The administrators will be configuring and managing firewalls, blocking specific ports, managing user permissions, monitoring the network, and patching system components.

As for their cost, you can look at conflicting data sources: depending on the region, experience, market saturation, and other factors. Still, if we’re looking for a broad view based on data from Payscale, this should be within $63,244 per year.

Compliance officers

Compliance officers are specialists who ensure an organization’s cybersecurity by implementing policies and procedures to align compliance with regulations and industry standards. They identify risks, monitor security measures, and ensure employees follow security protocols. These key people outline how an organization should handle sensitive data, access controls, and incident response.

A compliance officer’s salary is $73,255 a year based on publicly available data. Mind you, compliance is one of the trickiest landscapes to navigate, so these specialists must periodically refresh their knowledge to stay updated with the latest policy changes.

Security analysts

Security analysts identify potential threats to an organization’s network, systems, and data. They’re using various tools and techniques to detect and prevent cyberattacks before they can cause damage. Security analysts identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and infrastructure by conducting risk assessments.

Security analysts are crucial in protecting an organization’s assets and cyber threats. Based on Glassdoor data, their salaries, on average, are around $90,283 a year. Due to the increased frequency and complexity, professional cyber security analysts are in high demand, which can further increase their salaries.


The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing. Therefore employees’ skills and knowledge need to be periodically refreshed. This is where cybersecurity training and certifications ensure that employees know the best practices for protecting this information and can identify potential threats. These trainings can be expensive, and organizations must ensure they are effective.


Cybersecurity courses can be an invaluable resource in helping to understand the importance of protecting company data from cyberattacks. By teaching employees how to identify potential security threats and how to take preventative measures, companies can reduce the risk of data breaches and protect their sensitive information. Nowadays, there are plenty of resources, ranging from in-person training to online lectures.

For this reason, cybersecurity training costs vary significantly and can range from freely available online resources to $5,000 or more. Mind you that the price is affected by factors like depth and competencies. Courses intended for niche specializations will always cost more than a basic introduction.


Cybersecurity certifications provide credibility to professionals working in the field, demonstrating that they have met rigorous standards and have the necessary knowledge and skills to protect against cyber threats. Using certification as a standardized measure allows aligning the team and ensuring that best practices are applied when making organization-level cybersecurity improvements.

There are several popular cybersecurity certifications widely recognized in the industry. For example, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam costs around $699. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), another important pick for cybersecurity professionals, costs around $1199. Along with GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) certification and exam, it’s priced around $1699, which makes it one of the more expensive courses.

Factors that affect cybersecurity costs

It’s important to note that the cybersecurity costs provided in the previous section are only rough estimates. The final price will depend on numerous factors, which will be the key differentials from business to business when calculating cybersecurity costs. Let’s look at some of them to see how they factor into the final price tag.


The size of an organization is one of the most important factors which can drastically alter cybersecurity costs. As larger companies have more complex IT infrastructures, more employees to train, and a higher risk of cyber attacks due to their visibility and financial resources — their security naturally costs more. When compared to smaller organizations, the difference might be night and day.

Keep in mind that, in some cases, some cybersecurity tools will need to be adjusted. They cannot operate that well when used in corporate settings, which are within a completely different pricing category. However, numerous reports confirm that small businesses are three times more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals than larger companies. So while the risks remain high, not all companies are as well equipped to tackle the potential risks.


The industry in which an organization operates and any regulatory requirements it must comply with can impact its cybersecurity costs. Organizations working in highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance will have higher cybersecurity costs because more regulations apply to the data they’re holding.

As a side note, the industry determines an organization’s risk tolerance. Different industries can have very different thresholds for acceptable risk levels. This means that security’s scope will have to be aligned, which will also, in turn, affect cybersecurity costs. In addition, businesses in certain industries seem to fall victim to more cyberattacks than others, which is also a factor.

Financial impact of cyber attacks

While up until this point, you got the impression that cybersecurity is expensive, let’s move on to an overview of the financial impact of cyber attacks. Depending on what business operations are targeted, the attack scope, and the kinds of data leaking to the public, all constitute significant financial losses. Let’s look at revenue losses, legal fees, and reputational damage.


Cyberattacks can disrupt normal organizations’ day-to-day operations and compromise sensitive data. This can easily make an organization’s systems and networks inaccessible or unusable. The downtime when the IT team is trying to patch together a solution and get the operations back up and running costs time, which also translates into lost revenue.

2 financial impact of cyberattacks

The recovery costs can also be factored in as damaged equipment needs to be replaced, and systems need to be restored from the backups. It’s not a coincidence that a quarter of companies that have experienced a cyber attack have lost between $50,000 and $99,999 in revenue. These are steep numbers, and they don’t factor in the costs of getting the operations back up and running.

Legal fees

After data breach remediation and operations restoration, the trouble isn’t over. Especially in cases of a large data breach, companies need to hire legal counsel, forensic experts, and other professionals to help manage the aftermath. So there’s the precedent of estimation and cleaning up.

3 post-breach legal fees breakdown

Additionally, depending on the data breach’s severity, the company may also be held responsible for the damage suffered by affected customers or clients. If there are lawsuits, this can quickly mount legal fees, including settlement costs. For smaller companies, that’s an instant endgame as they often just aren’t equipped to handle such expenses. For instance, it’s estimated that legal costs range from $50,000-$148 million, with a median of $1.6 million and a mean of $13 million.

Reputational damage

A data breach leaves a permanent black mark on a company’s reputation. Companies will need to spend a lot of resources to repair their image and reassure the customers that they have learned from their mistakes and won’t happen again. This long process involves public statements and social media management and should be an aspect of long-term customer trust remediation.

4 cybersecurity reputational costs

According to various reports, the proportion of the total costs that can be attributed to reputational costs like abnormal customer turnover and loss of goodwill was around $1.57 million. Mind you that this is something that affects companies for a long time, provided that a company even makes a recovery from a data breach.

Benefits of cybersecurity spending

Cybersecurity spending can minimize various risks associated with revenue, reputation, or legal fees. While this is a solid argument advocating for cybersecurity solutions, this is far from the only benefit. Having a functioning infrastructure with a cybersecurity-focused mindset also generates a positive outcome for organizations. Let’s look at some of the indirect benefits of cybersecurity spending.

Better compliance alignment

Many compliance regulations, like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), require organizations to implement specific security measures to protect sensitive data. Therefore, investments in cybersecurity help to achieve two goals simultaneously:

  • The risk profile is contained, and the organization is more resistant to cyberattacks.

  • The organization ensures that it has all the necessary technologies and policies in place to meet compliance requirements.

Reports confirm that achieving substantial compliance goals require holistic and integrated security solutions, ensuring that every aspect of an organization is covered. For this alone, cybersecurity investments should be at the top of the business manager’s list.

Increased productivity

Cybersecurity matters can often be a catalyst for workplace modernization. While this may not always be a seamless transition, the change often allows the work to be performed more efficiently and securely. A good example of this is the remote and hybrid work trend, which became very popular after the global pandemic.

In fact, securing identities and endpoint devices enables users to do their work quickly and securely from anywhere. Nowadays, there are many ways of working, and cybersecurity can be a good contributor to breaking the cycle of outdated tech and enabling all ways of working.

How to apply cost-benefit analysis for your organization

Our rough estimates demonstrate that data breach costs outweigh cybersecurity expenses. While this is a valid statement, this doesn’t provide clear guidelines on what actionable steps should be taken when considering cybersecurity spending. Businesses have finite resources, and cybersecurity is just one area that needs to be addressed. Thankfully, there are some models that we can use as a basis to evaluate cybersecurity costs and benefits.

Let’s start by looking at one of the most widely used schemes: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. This is a helpful document consisting of standards, guidelines, and best practices to manage cybersecurity risks. It’s especially useful because it’s applicable to companies from all industries.

The problem with it is that while it recognizes that management of cybersecurity risks is always organization-specific, which will also shape how the final cost-benefit evaluation will look, it doesn’t outline how the cost-benefit analysis should be provided. For this reason, some researchers suggest integrating mathematical models Lawrence A. Gordon and Martin P. Loeb developed into the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. The model calculates an optimal investment in cybersecurity based on the cost of an attack, the expected probability, and the effectiveness of the security measures put in place.

The basic premise of the Gordon-Loeb model is that there is a tradeoff between the cost of an attack and the cost of investing in cybersecurity. Organizations want to minimize the total cost, including the cost of an attack and the security investment. The model assumes that the cost of an attack is proportional to the value of the information assets that could be compromised.

The model also considers the probability of an attack occurring, which is a function of the number of potential attackers, the likelihood that they will attempt an attack, and the effectiveness of the security measures. The effectiveness of security measures is assumed to be proportional to the level of investment in cybersecurity.

To calculate the optimal investment in cybersecurity, a balance needs to be found between the level of investment and the expected total cost. This relies on the relation between the expected cost of an attack and the cost of the security investment. This leaves us with a four-step approach:

  1. The value of protected information should be estimated as it represents the potential loss (L)

  2. The probability of the information being breached should be estimated (v)

  3. These first two values should be combined to derive the expected loss (vL)

  4. Cybersecurity investments should be allocated to the information based on the productivity and cost of the investments, so an optimal investment level (z)

Putting this data in the graph gives us some perspective on the diminishing returns. If the values of v and L are small, for instance, when v equals 0.1, and L equals $1M, extensive investments in cybersecurity aren’t optimal, as the expenses are higher than the benefits.

However, as the values of v and L increase, the optimal investment amount (z) and the expected loss resulting from a cybersecurity breach (vL) increase in this scenario.

5 graph showing optimal cybersecurity spending

In other words, the more valuable data an organization has, the more it has to lose. Once that threshold is met, not investing in cybersecurity is sitting on a powder keg. It’s a simple exercise to go through to better evaluate your organization’s standing in terms of cybersecurity. As a rule of thumb, the authors of the study suggest that organizations should generally invest less than 37% of the expected loss from a cybersecurity breach. The actual number will then need to be individually calculated based on your organization’s specifics.

How to improve your cybersecurity with NordLayer?

Cybersecurity is unavoidable in the current business environment because cyber threats aren’t going anywhere. This also has associated costs: solutions, services, personnel, and trainings. Organizations aren’t left alone without help, so for those willing to team up with cybersecurity providers — the market offers numerous opportunities that could make your company more resistant to cyber threats.

When it comes to the price, though, there are numerous factors that can also affect cybersecurity costs, like industry and size. As most cyberattacks are financially motivated, the companies with the most sensitive data are the prime targets. Although, it’s always fair to assume that no matter the industry or size, no one is immune to them.

That is why organizations need modern cybersecurity solutions that adapt to changing complexities of today’s working environments. All organizations have information that needs protecting, so all communication channels are interesting to hackers.

With NordLayer’s solutions, organizations can secure access to sensitive information and prevent reputational, legal, and financial damage. No matter what industry, NordLayer can be a reliable ally to help you stay secure. Contact us, and let’s discuss your cybersecurity journey together.

About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.

About NordLayer
NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses – from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security.

The web has become a chaotic space where safety and trust have been compromised by cybercrime and data protection issues. Therefore, our team has a global mission to shape a more trusted and peaceful online future for people everywhere.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made remarkable progress in recent years and has proved its value in various fields, including cybersecurity. With the rise of cyber threats and the increasing complexity of cyberattacks, AI has become a central tool for protecting against cybercrime.

Integrated artificial intelligence systems have the potential to be trained for the automatic identification of cyber threats, alerting users, and safeguarding sensitive information of businesses. Therefore, this article explores AI in cybersecurity, its benefits, use cases, and solutions, and addresses some frequently asked questions.

How is AI used in cybersecurity?

Artificial intelligence combines large data sets and uses them with intuitive processing algorithms. As the scope of networks and systems expands, AI in cybersecurity helps to automate operations by processing large amounts of data much faster than a human ever could. For this reason, most cybersecurity tools integrate deep learning and other capabilities intended to work with big data. Here are the main ways in which AI is used in cybersecurity:
  • Threat detection. AI can act as a filter for analyzing files and software code to identify potential malware threats while avoiding false positives. Machine learning algorithms can be trained for threat detection to recognize patterns and characteristics of known malware and flag any new code that matches these patterns.

  • Network security. AI algorithms can analyze network traffic data to detect patterns and anomalies indicating an attempted intrusion or attack. AI can flag any deviations from this baseline as potential threats by learning what normal network traffic patterns look like.

  • Behavioral analysis. AI can be used to analyze user behavior and detect anomalies that may indicate unauthorized access or malicious activity using machine learning. This allows for more effective user activity monitoring and detection of potential threats while limiting false positives.

  • Automated incident response. AI-based systems can be used to automatically respond to detected threats, like shutting down connections, quarantining infected machines, and disabling user accounts. Advanced machine learning models help to contain hacking attempts and minimize potential damage.

  • Vulnerability assessment. AI can identify potential vulnerabilities in systems and networks. This allows for proactive measures to be taken to mitigate potential threats before they can be exploited.

AI can be a powerful tool that can contribute in real-time, which can be essential in today’s rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape and lowers the odds that an organization will be affected by a data breach.

Benefits of AI in cybersecurity

AI solutions are versatile and can be applied in various scenarios. However, it requires preparation and feeding the deep learning models with plenty of data that could be used as a reference when identifying patterns. AI for cybersecurity does bring benefits, creating a more secure environment. Here are some of them that are noteworthy in a business setting.

1. Better vulnerability management

Considering the scope of threats that organizations face daily, network administrators need all the help they can get for endpoint protection. AI can analyze existing security measures to identify potential gaps, enabling businesses to focus on the most critical areas. This makes troubleshooting more efficient and provides in-depth oversight of the security level faster than any human ever could.

2. Self-correcting models

AI models can use deep and machine learning techniques to analyze network behavior and identify deviations from the norm. This allows further adjustments, enabling them to trigger various response actions when something odd is detected. This system adjusts its model over time, making it more accurate.

3. Limits process duplication

Some cybersecurity tasks are repetitive and monotonous, adding to personnel frustration and increasing the chances that some threats will slip by. AI-driven tools can perform all those recurring tasks automatically and only require confirmation before making the final changes. This allows security against potential gaps by consistently implementing the best network security practices.

4. Secure authentication

The industry is moving away from passwords and looking for ways to make security smarter. AI can be a helpful addition to implementing multiple authentication layers to verify a user’s identity. Using tools like fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, and other AI solutions helps identify fraudulent login attempts. This creates a much tighter security mechanism when allowing users in.

5. Helps to cover more ground

AI tools can perform multiple tasks simultaneously. At the same time, AI can scan and identify disguised threats while prioritizing prevention, even when dealing with multiple threats simultaneously. This versatility positively translates in terms of cybersecurity. Human attention can be limited to a single task at once, while AI can cover them in all other areas, which helps to expand network visibility and ensure appropriate security.

6. Helps to balance out workloads

Cybersecurity personnel isn’t cheap to hire or maintain, so it’s in a business’s best interest to ensure their experience is spent on tasks with the highest complexity. While AI can take care of manual tasks, human personnel can think of other ways to improve the cybersecurity posture in the organization. In the long run, this creates a greater value.

The limitations of traditional methods

The main difference between traditional cybersecurity tools and AI is their flexibility. Conventional cybersecurity tools like antiviruses or firewalls function based on strictly predetermined rule sets. A tool comes equipped with a list of malware types or blacklisted websites, which must be manually updated over time — it’s a very static system.

Meanwhile, AI can detect and respond to threats in real-time. Its ability to process large amounts of data when making decisions is unparalleled and extremely valuable. Cybersecurity threats are becoming more complex, so cybersecurity tools must react quickly if they want to stop them, which is why static models are too slow in today’s cyber landscape.

Hackers are also following developments of AI, which puts a lot of pressure on traditional cybersecurity solutions, as well. That’s another reason why AI in cybersecurity can level the playing field and provide a more well-rounded security solution.

AI cybersecurity solutions

The current cybersecurity market is saturated with solutions that integrate AI capabilities. Their advanced models allow them to process large amounts of data in real-time. Here’s a broad overview of cybersecurity technologies that integrate AI for cybersecurity.

Endpoint security

Endpoint security uses AI integrating network and device security to provide holistic protection against various threats. Tracking and analyzing processes on laptops, desktops, and mobile devices before the execution of malicious code allows the solution to shut down threats before they cause damage. Additionally, the models are expanded with additional input from past threats as they’re actively updated as they’re used.

Intrusion detection systems (IDS)

AI-powered IDS systems are capable of autonomously identifying threats using machine learning models. With enough data to work with and thorough training (and enough computational power), the model can be very accurate when discerning potential threats. This can help identify signs of intrusion moments from when it started. When combined with the remaining cybersecurity suite, the solutions can also help automate certain tasks, i.e., alert security teams or shut down network parts.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

DLP tools automatically encrypt data before it’s transmitted or restrict unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information. It’s no wonder that modern DLP tools are using AI and machine learning to improve their functionality and performance. AI can monitor and analyze organizational data flows to prevent unauthorized or accidental data leaks. Identifying sensitive information, enforcing data handling policies, and detecting potential data exfiltration attempts in a blink of an eye.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

AI-powered SIEM tools use machine learning, user behavior analytics, and cybersecurity threat feeds to detect abnormal activities. This contribution to threat hunting can help automate many time-consuming manual tasks that network administrators must perform by using AI. This allows for balancing automation with cost-effectiveness and efficiency, improving the organization’s overall security posture. Automatic events correlation, suspicious activity detection, and real-time insights into potential threats enable faster incident response and threat hunting.


What is the future of AI in cyber security?

Recent developments have shown that AI will continue to be closely integrated into cybersecurity solutions as attacks become more sophisticated. Many experts believe that using AI will be one of the main directions in which cybersecurity solutions will evolve. This will allow them to identify threats and potential vulnerabilities before they cause damage.

What are AI-enhanced cyber threats?

AI is used not only by cybersecurity specialists but by hackers, as well. This allows them to evade detection and cause more damage. The whole process can be automated — hackers are already writing convincing phishing attack emails using AI and natural language processing. Malware development can also be enhanced using AI, allowing hackers to write sophisticated malware that effectively bypass security measures. Various freely available chatbots are already contributing to the already saturated malware development.

About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.

About NordLayer
NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses – from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security.

The web has become a chaotic space where safety and trust have been compromised by cybercrime and data protection issues. Therefore, our team has a global mission to shape a more trusted and peaceful online future for people everywhere.

What is static IP? How it differs from dynamic IP?

IP (Internet Protocol) addresses work like digital street addresses that let devices find each other on the internet. Every internet device has a unique IP address. All of these addresses can be converted into text formats via the Domain Name System (DNS) format. This forms the basis of the World Wide Web.

There exist two types of IP addresses: static and dynamic. Both versions have specific roles. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to choose the right type for your networking needs. This article will explain how they work and help you choose the right one for your needs.

What is a static IP address?

The word “static” means unchanging, and this is a good description of how a static IP address works. The static IP meaning refers to an IP address that is assigned to a device and remains constant, as opposed to a dynamic IP address that changes each time the device connects to the internet. Users assign them to individual devices or resources. The address then applies for as long as users desire.

Static IP address types are typically found in devices like web servers. This form of IP address is usually utilized by businesses that need to communicate globally and want a fixed identity.

Because they are finite and must be assigned individually, static addresses come with monthly fees. This is not the case with a dynamic IP address.

Benefits of static IP addresses

  • DNS functionality. Website managers need to couple IP addresses with DNS information. A static IP address provides a better fit for DNS servers because it never changes. The DNS server can connect consistently with the same static IP address, resulting in smoother operations.

  • Website hosting. A static IP address comes into its own when used with web servers. With a static address, site visitors will find it easier to locate a website on the internet. Connection speeds may also be slightly quicker. This can be an advantage in areas like finance where rapid transactions make a major difference.

  • Voice communication. Voice-over-IP (VoIP) works much better with static IP addresses. This benefits companies that rely on teleconferencing or any type of video transmission.

  • Remote access benefits. Static IPs make it possible to establish consistent connections between remote workers and central networks. Wherever employees need to work, they can use the same IP address. This identifies their devices to network servers – a simple remote work solution.

  • Reliable geolocation. Static addresses make it easier to identify where you are. This is a big advantage to any services that depend on geolocation, such as weather or traffic updates.

  • IP allowlisting. If remote workers have a static IP address, security teams can use that address to filter legitimate traffic. Allowlisting supplements firewalls and VPNs. It effectively hides network resources from outsiders whose IP is not allowlisted. As a result, it also promotes better data security.

How to set up static IP addresses

Users can easily set up a static IP address in Local Area Network by changing their network settings. However, you will need to request a static address from your ISP if you want to have fixed external IP.

After the request, external fixed IP will be assigned and the setup will automatically be applied on your router. If you manually configure the settings on your devices, you will need to enter the assigned IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS server information into the network settings for each device that will use the static IP address.

Alternatively, if you use a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol reservation, you can set up your router to assign the static IP address automatically to a specific device on your network. This method ensures that the device always receives the same IP address, even if it is restarted or disconnected from the network temporarily.

Note that this isn’t the same as configuring a private IP address that is reserved for use within a private network, such as a home or office network.

What is a dynamic IP address?

Dynamic IP addresses constantly change. The IP address is not connected to an individual user or company.

There is usually no financial charge for using a dynamic IP address. ISP servers assign them as needed. Using a dynamic IP address is generally cost-effective for service providers compared to assigning static addresses.

Dynamic IPs are the standard identifier for consumer devices. They are routinely used in home networks to identify tablets, laptops, and digital boxes. But a dynamic IP address is not always the best option for businesses, who may prefer an IP address that does not change.

Benefits of dynamic IP addresses

  • Cost. A dynamic IP address is usually cheaper to use than static alternatives. There is no regular fee. Addresses are assigned in the background as part of ISP packages.

  • Simple configuration. Users do not need to manually configure a dynamic IP address. The address changes without users knowing. DHCP will automatically switch addresses, leaving users with no additional admin tasks.

  • Fewer device conflicts. Static IPs can conflict if used for one or more devices. For example, you may add extra workstations to a corporate network. Dynamic addresses are unlimited and reusable. So any new devices will immediately gain unique identifiers.

  • Security benefits. Hackers may obtain static IPs and use them to breach network resources. Because a dynamic IP address changes regularly, it presents a moving target. This makes life harder for potential attackers, especially when combined with VPN protection.

  • Privacy. Static IPs provide constant evidence of your physical location. This can be useful for external snoopers and thieves. With a dynamic IP address, it’s harder to pin down your device location. This results in enhanced physical security.

How does it work?

When you receive a dynamic IP address, it is assigned by a system called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

ISP companies maintain reserves of unused IP addresses and assign users the next available IP address when they connect to the internet. The dynamic IP address is re-assigned to someone else when their session ends.

It’s important to remember that DHCP assigns dynamic addresses temporarily. Users “lease” the dynamic IP address on a short-term basis. The same IP address could be reused hundreds of times in a single day.

Dynamic addresses also present a different identity to the services you use. This can cause problems when websites expect a single IP address to identify users. Features like autofill passwords may not function correctly.

Comparison of static and dynamic IP addresses

Static IP address:

  • Doesn’t change

  • Has a higher maintenance cost

  • Used for handling lots of connections simultaneously

  • Helps to maintain uninterrupted access

  • Ensures availability for outside devices and networks

Dynamic IP address:

  • Is continuously rotated

  • Doesn’t additionally increase the cost

  • Used for user devices like smartphones and laptops

  • Helps to maintain online access when changing networks

  • Ensures that all devices are always assigned an IP address

When comparing Static IP vs Dynamic IP addresses, it helps to keep their different features in mind. Here are some handy pros and cons of both IP address varieties:

Static IP pros

  • Geolocation – Static addresses work well with IP-based geolocation services. They are a good fit for users who need to be precisely located.

  • Voice-over-IP – Static IP is preferable for VoIP teleconferencing.

  • DNS hosting – Static addresses are a much better option for hosting DNS-based web assets. Website data will be available to users across the world, with minimal IP address conflict.

  • Security – Static addresses make allowlisting easier, boosting security. Users can route static VPN traffic through a single IP address, protecting traffic and enabling safe remote working.

Static IP cons

  • Hacking risks – Because they never change, static IPs can be prone to hijacks. And static addresses can give away geographical details to snoopers.

  • Ease of Use – Users must configure a static IP address manually after an initial request to their ISP.

  • Costs – Static IP addresses come with an extra charge, so tend to cost more.

Dynamic IP pros

  • Security – Constantly changing IP data makes hacking more difficult. IP address holders are also harder to track down via geolocation tools.

  • Costs – Dynamic IPs are generally free of charge for the duration of contracts from Internet Service Providers.

  • Ease of Use – Dynamic addresses require virtually no configuration, so are generally easier to use.

Dynamic IP cons

  • Reliability – Dynamic addresses can sometimes be unavailable. They do not function well with DNS servers, and they deliver less precise geolocation information.

  • VPN functionality – Virtual Private Networks work much better with static IPs, especially when applied to business settings.

  • Website issues – Using the web may be less convenient. For example, sites may fail to auto-fill fields if IP addresses constantly change.

When to use a static or dynamic IP address?

Comparing static IP vs dynamic IP addresses shows that the two IP address types have very different use cases.

When to use a static IP address

Static IP is generally preferred by businesses. Unchanging IP addresses are ideal for hosting websites because they suit DNS server architecture.

With a static IP, your web or email server will be easier to find. External partners can use a single point of contact to interact with servers or databases. And that address does not change unless you want it to.

If you are planning to connect an email server or are designing a remote work system, static IP addresses will probably work best.

It is also easier to apply IP allowlisting with a static IP address. Allowlisting adds an extra layer of network protection. Security teams can add static addresses to firewall rules, and block everything else. Remote workers can identify themselves easily. Wherever they are, the network will recognize them as authentic users.

Additionally, static addresses benefit users of critical SaaS applications. Companies benefit from more reliable VPN and Voice-over-IP services.

When to use a dynamic IP address

Dynamic IP is generally found in home and consumer settings. The low cost and convenience are a good fit for everyday device usage. Dynamic addresses also have a slight security edge for private settings and organizations that cannot invest in enterprise security solutions.

Some device types also tend to use dynamic IP for reasons of convenience. For instance, routers may not need a static address. Dynamic DHCP-assigned addresses can be cheaper and simpler to configure.

As IPv6 becomes mainstream, the cost of static IPs may come down. The stock of IP addresses has been limited by the Ipv4 format. In the future personal and business use of static IP addresses may well be routine.

How can Nordlayer help?

Choosing the right IP address format is an important part of network architecture. Businesses can optimize their web presence, improve app performance, and realize security benefits by applying static IPs.

However, these benefits require careful implementation. Nordlayer is ready to help companies as they secure their network assets.

Our dedicated IP services make it possible to conceal traffic and filter access requests. Assign a static IP to your VPN coverage, and block unauthorized traffic without denting network performance. Users can combine static IPs with network segmentation, access controls, DNS filtering, and many other security features.

With Nordlayer, you can build a user-friendly security architecture that makes life easy for authenticated users and blocks malicious traffic when connected to internet gateway. To find out more, contact the Nordlayer team today.

About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.

About NordLayer
NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses – from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security.

The web has become a chaotic space where safety and trust have been compromised by cybercrime and data protection issues. Therefore, our team has a global mission to shape a more trusted and peaceful online future for people everywhere.



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