A Guide to Understanding and Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication

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In the last year, millions of employees have moved home to do their work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the results from this move to the work from home paradigm have been mostly successful, there are a few inarguable and dangerous downsides to the move. Primarily, the security of employees working from home is severely hampered.

To fix this situation and keep their assets and corporate secrets safe, many companies have moved to multi-factor authentication devices and techniques. Multi-factor authentication helps companies achieve substantial peace of mind by creating a security blanket around their networks which can only be accessed through a combination of devices and methods.

This new technique has been highly effective in curbing theft and other cyberattacks and is being more widely adopted with each passing day. For example, universities and other campuses with students who need access to grades and assignments, have adopted multi-factor authentication and use it in combination with e-mail and password-protected sites.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication

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This is a security system that demands a variety of credentials and passwords to be accessed. One of the most popular multi-factor systems today is Duo, which requires the input of a code that is sent to a phone through text message. A call can also be requested, at which point any press of a keypad can be registered in order to access the website. There are a variety of methods and forms of authentication which can be entered into a site.

A user can generate data like a PIN or password to enter their site, or they can use their smartphone to interact with their system and prove their identity. A far less popular and more expensive method such as fingerprint recognition can also be used. This technique can also be combined with single sign-on, meaning users are given access to all of the components and functions of their network with just one sign-in.

The Importance of Multi-Factor Authentication

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Cyberattacks are becoming more commonplace and hackers are daily reading up and improving on their methods of entry. When a hacker accesses your website, they can steal a variety of information such as passwords, important documents, and other secrets. Multi-factor authentication greatly bolsters the security of your website and network by forcing users to prove their identity with a litany of methods that only they could access – phone calls and text messages, for example.

The most common types of break-ins are caused by poor passwords and weak points in the security chain. It’s been estimated that nearly sixty-five percent of cyberattacks are successful because targeted passwords were weak and insufficient. Multi-factor authentication prevents these attacks from happening because a password becomes just one factor in a chain of factors that a hacker needs to access.

Benefits of Using Multi-Factor Authentication

When companies use this method of security, user identities are checked and rechecked before they can access their network. These checks ensure that a user is correctly identified and prevent those acting in bad faith or fraudulent actors from accessing a system. These systems have been used for a few years and have already been successful in preventing thousands of potential cyberattacks, including those perpetrated by bots and other remote devices.

Needing multiple points of contact and a list of authentication factors greatly bolsters the security of a system and can be used to obtain the identity of those entering a network from anywhere in the world and at any time. User credentials are also protected from hackers and other attacks with the use of multi-factor authentication, which is highly important because more than eighty percent of breaches are caused by credential theft.

A surprising seventy-six percent of break-ins are orchestrated using duplicate credentials and nearly half of employees use unapproved apps and sites while at work.

Questions to Ask

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When considering if your company wants to adopt a Multi-Factor Authentication, there are four main questions you should ask and contemplate. First, ask yourself how friendly the solution is. Many of these processes are simple and streamlined for the convenience of your company. It takes only a minute or two for authentication to take place, so your employees should be able to use it easily without distraction or greater risk. You should also ask how the solution will impact your administrators.

This solution benefits them most of all because break-ins are far less likely to occur and data will be stolen at a far decreased rate. The peace of mind provided by multi-factor authentication speaks for itself and is well worth the cost and time. Next, consider how it will affect your scale and systems. Multi-factor authentication is designed to be flexible and dynamic, fitting into a variety of systems with ease and an eye toward productivity and efficiency.

Finally, consider which steps your company will take and employ the multi-factor authentication method. There are many options you have which are provided by different companies. Choosing any of the methods offered is a great start and your company can always experiment with new and different methods if your original choice turns out not to be right for your operations.


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