An essential part of modern digital security, Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) involves the use of two or more methods of authentication in order for an individual user to be given access to a system.
In this brief overview of MFA we will explore what the main mechanisms of authentication are, the benefits of implementing multi factor authentication in your organisation and some of the key considerations you need to take into account before deploying a MFA solution.
Furthermore, read our guide to Customer Identity and Access Management to gain an understanding on the importance of managing online identities and access management.
Deploying MFA is similar to the process involved with two-factor authentication (2FA) with the key difference being that where 2FA involves two of these steps, MFA can involve the delivery of one, two, or more methods if deemed appropriate.
This can also be further tightened by restricting the user to being within a certain operational perimeter, such an internal computer network, or using other unique identifiers such as geographic location, or ensuring that a fully validated device is needed before a user is allowed to continue through a define MFA process.
Under MFA, these solutions can be mixed and matched as needed - combining to create a security layer that suits you, your customer or your employees’ needs.
A key consideration in deploying a MFA solution is matching the use case with the appropriate technical solution that can be deployed by your team effectively. For example, requiring the use of two key cards, a physical password generator, and a finger-print scan wouldn’t suit a service like Facebook as it would be too onerous for users using the application daily.
On the other hand, using a unique, secure pin and the deployment of a fingerprint scan on a unique smart device might be suitable to provide access to a personal banking applications. Determining the trade-off between usability and enhanced security is a key aspect in deciding on a MFA sequence that is appropriate for your business.
Simply put, it helps by ensuring that your users, data, applications and infrastructure remain secure. At its heart, the process involves providing an appropriate level of access control to the systems you provide through means that allow you to validate as best as is possible who is user actually is.
The risk posed by hacking and security breaches is serious and carries a very significant real-world impact to your business, and your customers, both of which make the need for multi factor authentication vendors a key consideration for your business. In 2019 the average cost of a data breach was found to be $3.92m USD. This is made up from governmental fines, lost business, and the follow-up infrastructure work that addressed exploited weaknesses.
Aside from the proliferation of modern hackers, it’s often understandable why they happen. Modern IT managers or product teams need to find a balance between usability and security. This, combined with the fact that authentication system are typically regarded as difficult to understand and deploy, mean that company routing opt for a simplistic security solution that may contain vulnerabilities. And as hacking methods increase in sophistication, this approach has to change. Brute force attacks can force their way into passwords, spear phishing can get access to unwary clients, and poorly protected profiles can be accessed by harvesting social media data. Any such unauthorised access to data, applications or infrastructure presents a threat to your business.
In addition, what the $3.9m value does not factor in is the reputational damage involved. If relying on customer trust and data handling is a core part of your business model, any breach can be devastating to your sales pipeline. This can result in the haemorrhaging of customers and even internal talent as they move clear of the negative image your company represents; no matter if it’s real or not. And with smaller companies suffering disproportionately from fines they don’t have the internal resource to absorb, your business could potentially be one breach away from disaster.
With this in mind, there are some key considerations to deploying MFA that businesses need to think about before engaging the services of multi factor authentication vendors. These include:
If you want to find out more about our multi factor authentication solutions, the team at 10Duke are here to help. With many years’ professional experience in the sector, we will work with you to find the right online security package that works for you.
Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) involves two or more methods of authentication in order for an individual user to be given access to a system.