Multi-Factor Authentication: Zero-Trust Security for Organisations

By Vicky Hart - 14 May, 2021
Security

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an IT-based security solution that administers additional or multiple layers of user authentication during the sign-in process.

The solution requires a user to provide a minimum of two or more credentials to authenticate their identity and be permitted access securely.  

These credentials may include passwords, IT hardware tokens, numerical codes, biometrics, time, and or location. The most common form of Multi-Factor Authentication is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), which requires users to provide one additional factor of authentication during sign-in.  

Typically, the most common form of Two-Factor Authentication is a numerical code sent to the user’s mobile phone or device when prompted to enter user credentials. 

As the landscape of malicious acts and threats continues to increase on a global scale progressively, the need for companies to implement and maintain a zero-trust security position for the workforce has never been more critical. 

Differences Between Multi-Factor Authentication and Basic Passwords 

Multi-Factor Authentication serves as one of the primary methods to ensure users are who they say they are upon login. Historically, this would be confirmed by standard credentials entered upon a user’s sign-in, typically being a personal username and single password. However, unintended user access becomes a definitive concern without an additional factor of authentication to your password. For example, consider the standard process of a user logging into their personal email account. The username and password would grant them access to the webserver, various internal applications, data, and confidential information. 

When considering Multi-Factor Authentication for your environment, there are four distinct types. Below are the types ranked in the order of least to most effective, and examples for each. 

  • Text Message Code: Commonly a 4- or 6-digit code sent to a mobile device via SM 
  • An Authenticator App Code: An App such as DUO Multi-Factor Authentication 
  • Biometric: Facial recognition on a Windows PC or iPhone 
  • Physical Key: USB based security stick or keychain token that generates a unique code to be entered upon login 

How Multi-Factor Authentication can help Companies Avoid Breaches 

As credential-based attacks continue to rise globally, Multi-Factor Authentication is becoming a common initiative for small to large organisations alike. Despite users having a unique password for each website or application they use, malware and various threats continue to threaten organisations daily. Many organisations have successfully prevented costly breaches just by employing Multi-Factor Authentication. 

For example, if an employee were to have their login credentials stolen, a hacker would be unable to log in to their account without an additional form of verification. Two-Factor Authentication would come into play by sending the legitimate user a unique two-factor numerical code to be entered, ensuring complete user authenticity and security. 

Did you Know? 
  • During hundreds of millions of personal records being stolen through an increased number of well-publicised hacks: 
    • 80% of consumers are worried about their online security 
    • 45% are extremely or very concerned about their accounts being hacked 
    • 40% have experienced a security incident in the past year 
  • Nearly 9 in 10 consumers – say that using 2FA makes them feel more confident that their online information is secure. 
  • Weak or breached/stolen user credentials are the most typical weapon of choice for hackers, statistically used is 95% of all Web application attacks. 
  • 54% of consumers use five or fewer passwords for all their accounts, creating a potential “domino effect” that allows hackers to breach multiple accounts by cracking a single password. 

    How New Era Technology can Assist

    New Era Technology supports small to enterprise-based customers and organisations with every stage of Multi-Factor Authentication considerations and deployments. A few of the most common feedback from customers include:

    • Improved cyber security
    • Increase conversion
    • Improved customer trust and satisfaction
    • Reduced operating costs
    • Breaches to helpdesk service fees

    A zero-trust approach for the workforce is the foundation for a zero-trust security model that ensures users and devices are trusted before granting them secure access. To learn more please contact our team.

    Sources

    Author: Vicky Hart

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