Saturday, April 20

All You Need to Know About Multifactor Authentication

The world is a scary place. The rise of social media, dating apps, and other digital services has made our every move easier to monitor and more challenging to keep private.

It’s no longer enough for users to create passwords that are difficult to guess; corporations and websites need a way to verify the user is who they claim to be. Multifactor authentication (MFA) adds another layer of security to your digital identity by requiring users to present more than one piece of identifying information before granting access.

These secondary verification methods can include personal details such as a trusted device, an SMS code, or even an in-person interview with an employee. This blog post will give you everything you need to know about multi-factor authentication and how it can benefit your business.

 

What is Multifactor Authentication?

Multifactor authentication refers to the use of two or more authentication factors. An authentication factor is any attribute used to verify the user’s identity.

Authentication factors may include:

Something you know (e.g., a password or PIN).

Something you have (e.g., an ATM card or a smartphone).

Something you are (e.g., your fingerprint).

Authentication is confirming that someone is who they say they are. For example, when you log into your email account, you’re providing authentication that you’re the rightful owner of that email address. When you provide your password, you’re also providing authentication.

In theory, authentication is simple: you provide your login name and password to prove your identity, and your account is unlocked. In practice, however, things can become much more complicated.

 

Why You Should Use MFA

It would help if you used multifactor authentication to protect your accounts whenever possible. MFA helps make your accounts more secure by requiring more than just a password to log in. You can use MFA with various login methods, including web browsers, mobile apps, virtual private networks (VPNs), and more.

Like you lock your house even though you’re probably not expecting an intruder, it’s best to play it safe with your online accounts. Even if you don’t see any specific threats, you never know who might try to break into your account. If someone manages to get ahold of your login credentials, it could have major consequences for your financial account or reputation. There are several ways MFA can protect you from these potential threats.

 

How to Deploy MFA in Your Organization

MFA can be deployed in many different ways. Your first step is to decide which factors work best for your organization. The following examples of multifactor authentication are the most common ways it is used:

Password – You’re probably already familiar with this one. Many websites and services use password-based MFA. It’s considered one of the most basic forms of MFA because it provides a reliable level of security at a low cost.

Biometric authentication – This method uses biometric data to authenticate users, such as fingerprints or retina scans. Biometric authentication is becoming increasingly popular among service providers. Compared to other methods, biometric authentication is easy to use, works across all devices and provides a high level of security.

Challenge questions – Challenge questions are used to verify identity in two situations: first, when you try to access a sensitive account; second, when you’re trying to prove that you are the owner of an account in the face of denial of access. Challenge questions can be helpful in both situations.

 

MFA Mistakes to Avoid

While MFA is a great way to protect your accounts, it can be misused. Businesses that deploy MFA and then fail to educate their users about its proper use are asking for trouble. One of the most common MFA mistakes businesses make is to use MFA as a stand-alone solution. Using MFA on its own is less effective than using it in combination with other security measures.

For example, using MFA in combination with encryption, password management tools, and other security methods can help prevent data breaches. Another common MFA mistake is failing to support mobile devices. Increasingly, people use their smartphones as their primary computing devices. You’re creating a false sense of security if you support MFA on computers but not on mobile devices.

 

Conclusion

Authentication is essential to any online experience, and multifactor authentication is a great way to ensure your accounts are secure. Using MFA is simple: when logging in, you’ll be prompted to enter a verification code or scan your fingerprint, for example. Of course, no system is 100% secure, but with the right precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of your login credentials ending up in the wrong hands.