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Why User Verification is Crucial to Helpdesk Support

In today’s digital age, security is at the forefront of every business operation, especially when it comes to IT support. Helpdesk support teams are often the first line of defense against potential security breaches, making user verification a critical aspect of their daily operations. But why is it so important to confirm that the person submitting a trouble ticket is who they claim to be?

Let’s dive into the importance of user verification, why your Managed Service Provider (MSP) should be following this process and how it can help prevent cyber-attacks.

User Information is Highly Available

An increased amount of information about your organization, events and even employees is ever present on the internet. With sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, X and Instagram, a malicious actor can harvest enough data to use that same publicly available data against your organization. This is especially dangerous if they can gather data on your internal or outsourced helpdesk. With information such as an employee’s name, email, position and location, these attackers can attempt to impersonate an employee and use your helpdesk as an entry point into your systems.

Implementing Effective Verification Practices

Requiring confirmation that someone is who they say they are is the simplest and best way to make sure only authorized people have access to your systems. To ensure robust user verification, helpdesk support teams should adopt the following practices:

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Tools like DUO and Microsoft Authenticator can add an extra layer of security, making it harder for unauthorized users to gain access.
  2. Standard Verification Protocols: Develop and follow a standard procedure for verifying users. This can include asking for specific information only the real user would know.
  3. Training and Awareness: Regularly train helpdesk staff on the latest security practices and the importance of user verification.

How User Verification Can Prevent a Cyber Attack

Let’s illustrate the effectiveness of user verification with a real-world scenario. Suppose you receive a ticket from Sarah, a senior manager, asking to reset her VPN password because she is traveling and can’t access the company network. Normally, this might seem like a routine request.

However, upon attempting to verify Sarah’s identity through a multi-factor authentication process like DUO or Microsoft Authenticator you discover something suspicious. Sarah’s mobile verification fails, and a quick call to her known mobile phone number confirms she is not traveling and never made the request.

By verifying Sarah’s identity, you’ve just thwarted a potential cyber-attack. The hacker, pretending to be Sarah, was attempting to gain access to the network. Without proper verification, you might have handed over the keys to the kingdom. Thanks to diligent user verification practices, however, the attack was stopped before it could begin.

User verification in helpdesk support is not just about following protocol—it’s about safeguarding the entire organization from potential security breaches. By confirming the identity of users requesting support, helpdesk technicians can prevent unauthorized access and protect sensitive information. As cyber threats become more sophisticated, the role of user verification in IT support becomes increasingly crucial. Implementing stringent verification practices can make all the difference between a secure system and a costly security breach. So, although it may take an extra step verification is a necessity. Your helpdesk’s diligence could be the line of defense that keeps the organization safe.

Category: Cybersecurity
Last Updated: On June 13, 2024