We\u2019ve been talking in this space about how transforming secure access requires making it pervasive, connected and continuous. Now I\u2019d like to dive more deeply into the first of those three characteristics and explain specifically what \u201cpervasive\u201d means in this context\u2014and, equally important, what it doesn\u2019t mean.Pervasive means secure access everywhere applications may be, from SaaS applications in the cloud to legacy applications on-premises, and throughout the infrastructure in between that connects users to those applications. It means secure access for virtual private networks (VPNs), managed workspaces and privileged access management (PAM) systems that protect privileged users\u2019 credentials. And it means secure access everywhere users are accessing applications, whether they\u2019re on personal devices or office desktops.The more places applications live, and people work, the more important pervasiveness becomesYou need secure access everywhere because applications are everywhere\u2014in more places than ever, in greater numbers than ever\u2014and so are users. According to Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), 82 percent of organizations in a recent survey indicated they relied on public clouds, public app stores and software as a service (SaaS) platforms for user access to applications and data. EMA also reported that even though users access those resources from the office 64 percent of the time, they also access them from home or other remote locations more than a third (36 percent) of the time. And the users themselves are diverse: While the majority of companies (82 percent) reported that most of their users are employees (82 percent), many also said their users include managed service providers, customers, partners, outsourcers and patients.Regardless of the category of user, where they\u2019re working, or whether applications and data are on-premises or in the cloud, every user needs to be able to access them quickly and easily. Providing that ability isn\u2019t so easy when there are multiple on-premises resources, SaaS applications and cloud service platforms, all with different security policies. When every application has its own unique credentials, it creates \u201cislands of identity.\u201d Disconnected from each other and lacking any common access process, they\u2019re inherently challenging for users to access easily and for IT to secure effectively.To bridge these islands, you must transform secure access to pervade every environment where resources live, and users work. This requires a single, standards-based authentication platform that spans all applications and access points, transcending their differences\u2014a platform that\u2019s compatible with multiple key authentication protocols, can be quickly deployed to legacy and custom applications without additional special coding, and provides administrators with a convenient single view for governance of all access activity.Pervasive secure access provides assurance users are who they say they are beyond their initial interactionWhile the description of pervasive secure access above may sound in some ways like single sign-on (SSO), it\u2019s actually much more. SSO alone doesn\u2019t do enough to help organizations successfully manage identity risk while delivering convenient access for users. It simply can\u2019t reliably provide the assurance that those who seek access to resources really are who they say they are. That became alarmingly clear earlier this year with the widely reported discovery of a SAML library-related vulnerability that can fool SSO solutions into allowing someone who\u2019s already logged into a network to illegitimately log in as another user on the system. According to the US Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (CERT\/CC), multiple SSO solutions and vendors were identified as vulnerable to such attacks.A key point to keep in mind about that vulnerability is that it can only bypass the first level of authentication, which is why a multi-factor authentication solution is important to help protect against attacks based on the vulnerability. SSO relies on the old, familiar username-plus-password paradigm for authentication, and that spells trouble at a time when 81 percent of successful cyberattacks involve compromised passwords. Even when combined with some level of integrated (or even native) step-up authentication, SSO solutions are fundamentally designed to protect only the initial interaction with the SSO platform.Pervasive secure access is about being able to identify risk at every interaction point, using a variety of means (detecting anomalies in user behavior, or considering contextual clues like location and device, for example)\u2014and asking users for further authentication when the level of risk warrants it. This risk-based approach provides the opportunity to step up to multi-factor authentication when appropriate but doesn\u2019t demand additional authentication when it\u2019s not warranted. It ensures that access is both secure enough to protect the organization and convenient enough to minimize friction for users.Next time, we\u2019ll take a deep dive into the \u201cconnected\u201d aspect of the pervasive, connected and continuous path to modern authentication and cybersecurity. All three characteristics are inextricably linked to each other as enablers of the secure access transformation that will prepare your organization to meet today\u2019s modern security challenges.