One of the most important tools today is something called multi-factor authentication, often shortened to MFA. When people are trying to protect their equipment, they often use antivirus software, put up something called a firewall, and even use encryption technology; however, the reality is that these measures are not going to be very strong unless multi-factor authentication is used. Therefore, it is one of the best practices in the world of IT for managers to categorize their systems, looking for ones that contain data that is essential to the business, and deploying multi-factor authentication to help protect it. MFA is not that complex, meaning that it is not that hard to use.
In Microsoft Office 365, it is possible for people to install this additional layer of security. There are multiple types of multi-factor authentication, including two-factor authentication, often shortened to 2FA. This simply means that the user will have to provide two separate methods of identification or verification. In some cases, more methods might be required. Even though some people shy away from installing multi-factor authentication, there are a few benefits that everyone should note.
2FA Will Simplify the User Experience
One of the most popular forms of multi-factor authentication is called 2FA. Some people even think that if some is good, more is better. This isn’t always the case. Yes, more verification measures would certainly increase security; however, it would also harm accessibility. It is important to take a step back and take a look at the various components of security and how this impacts the user experience. If there are too many security measures in place with multi-factor authentication, then they might try to avoid using the application entirely.
With 2FA, there is a second layer of security beyond a password. This means that security is improved without placing undue stress on the user.
Guard Against Unauthorized Access with 2FA
Another major benefit of 2FA is that it will protect against unauthorized access. Microsoft Office 365 will integrate with Azure Active Directory to sync with passwords, using a single-sign-on to integrate with numerous applications, making it easier for the IT department and the user. On the other hand, Office 365 is tied to other resources, meaning that hackers will target it routinely. Furthermore, if a hacker tries to obtain someone’s Office 365 credentials and the Azure AD is tied to Office 365, then the hacker will obtain everything that person has. Therefore, it is critical for IT departments to ensure that Office 365 is protected, particularly when it integrates with Azure. This is where 2FA or multi-factor authentication is critical.
Protect Against Phishing Threats with 2FA
Phishing attacks are still a major threat today. For those who might not know, a phishing attack takes place when someone tries to steal another person’s credentials using a fake login page or a tempting email. With 2FA is employed, this means that phishing attacks are not enough to get access to someone’s login information. Without the second type of identification, the hacker will not have the information that he or she needs to access the account. This is one of the major benefits of 2FA and multi-factor authentication.
The Numerous Options with 2FA
Some people are wondering why type of verification they will need to provide in order to complete the 2FA process. The good news is that there are plenty of options. Some people like to go with a very sophisticated type of verificatiomeasuresre such as fingerprints or even a retina scan. It is incredibly challenging to break through these verification types.
On the other hand, there are also much simpler forms of identification they can use. For example, some people like to use a hardware or software token. It can be even simpler such as a text message with a single code, an email verification, or even a push notification. All of these are simple when it comes to 2FA.
Companies have the flexibility to explore these options and figure out what works best for their company.
Even though 2FA does offer a second layer of security, it will only work if it has been configured and managed in the proper way. If there are any mistakes made during the setup process, this will leave the door open, meaning that the company will be vulnerable.
Therefore, when looking at the various 2FA options, it is important to find a partner who is familiar with multi-factor authentication and can help companies make the choice that is right for them. With years of experience, an IT partner will be able to guide companies through this process, helping them make the choice that is right for the client.
Of course, passwords are going to be the most common first form of verification; however, they are also the most vulnerable because they can be stolen. Many people choose an easy password, such as “password” or their last name, and then they use the same password for every account. This is one of the biggest reasons why multi-factor authentication is so important in the first place.
When IT managers are guiding clients through the process of picking a second verification method, they are going to recommend a few measures. Some of the tips to remember when it comes to multi-factor authentication include:
- Pick something that is on the person’s body at all times and cannot be copied, such as a phone
- Select something that is biologically unique, such as a retina or a fingerprint
The second verification method cannot be used until the password is entered. That way, even if a strong password has been broken, the attacker cannot finish the sign-in process.
Commonly Added Authentication Factors
When it comes time to pick a second form of authentication, there are a few common examples. These include:
- Something called a knowledge factor, which is unique to the user, such as a username or PIN code
- A possession factor, which is something the user owns, such as a card
- An inherence factor, which includes biological factors including voices, eyes, and fingerprints
These are a few of the most commonly used multi-factor authentication examples that companies should consider.
The Versions of MFA
For those who want to use Office 365, there are several versions of MFA from which to choose. Some of the most common examples include:
- MFA for Office 365: In this manner, multi-factor authentication can be set up for licensed users of Office 365
- Windows Azure MFA: Administrators are able to secure Windows Azure resources for their admins and users. Some of the most common online resources through which MFA can be set up include LOB, VPN, and SaaS apps.
These are a few of the most common manners in which users can apply multi-factor authentication.
The Motivation of MFA
There are three main reasons why someone might want to use MFA. They include compliance, usability, and security.
First, let’s take a look at security. The strength of any security system is typically dependent on the number of layers or factors that are included in the system. Each individual authentication measure has its strengths and weaknesses; however, if there is more than one layer, it is going to be much stronger and harder to break.
In addition, there is the issue of compliance. Nearly every organization has to comply with regulations that govern how strong the security systems have to be. Under certain circumstances, it is a necessity to use multi-factor authentication. Therefore, multi-factor authentication is also an important form of compliance. There is also a lot of pressure from the public to take care of their information. This type of multi-factor authentication will place the minds of their customers at ease.
Finally, the biggest need for multi-factor authentication revolves around the idea that passwords are dead. What this means is that people have too many passwords so they write them down (defeating the purpose) and that many people think passwords are too easy to break. Therefore, multi-factor authentication helps to provide a security measure that provides a greater degree of confidence for the user.
In addition, it is important to take a minute to examine the numerous benefits of multi-factor authentication.
The biggest benefit of multi-factor authentication is that is adds an additional layer of security. There is a new layer that is going to make it harder for any hacker to access the system and steal the company’s data.
The second benefit that people need to note tis that this provides a greater degree of compliance. Many organizations have to protect their data and some get audited, which could result in fines. By using multi-factor authentication the chances of an organization getting fined due to compliance issues is much lower.
Finally, companies are also going to be much more wieldy and flexible. Many organizations get bogged down by a high number of passwords. Instead of having users worry about their passwords, people can simply use multi-factor authentication, making it easier to reduce costs and increase revenue.
The Common Challenges of MFA
Next, it is important to take a closer look at some of the biggest challenges when it comes to multi-factor authentication. There are a few main challenges that everyone should note. These include:
Usability: This is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to multi-factor authentication. In the world of most MFA programs, the first type of verification is still a password. This means that some people might still have to remember a password in addition to using a new layer of security. This can slow people down. Furthermore, another usability challenge is trying to find the right type of MFA. Some people might find this more challenging than a password. Therefore, organizations have to pick the second method carefully.
Cost: This is probably the biggest challenge when it comes to multi-factor authentication. There can be a high cost when it comes to using MFA, particularly for biologic methods. This could also lead to more support, training, and maintenance as well. Therefore, it is important for companies to examine how they are going to fund the cost of a multi-factor authentication program and make sure they can handle it.
The Technical Gaps: Sometimes, companies are using legacy systems and it might be hard to take multi-factor authentication and blend it with these older systems. Do the local devices even have MFA? Can they support it? What about the email client? Can this handle multi-factor authentication? These are a few of the major questions that companies need to answer.
The Complexity: Another major issue in the world of multi-factor authentication is the complexity. In some cases, it might require the installation of added drivers. This could also lead to the requirement of new compatability checks that need to evolve as the environment changes. This can pose a major hurdle for some companies, so be sure to think about this when it comes to multi-factor authentication.
The Bandwidth Demands: In some cases, the added layer of security is going to place more stress on the bandwidth of the company. This could make it hard to handle multi-factor authentication while also trying to find ways to keep productivity high. Businesses need to think about the demands multi-factor authentication is going to place on the network and find ways to maintain speed throughout the rest of the organization.
These are a few of the biggest challenges that businesses are going to case when they think about installing multi-factor authentication. This is going to reduce the risks of being hacked; however, it is also going to place additional strain on the company. Therefore, businesses need to take a closer look at the various multi-factor authentication options so that they will be able to pick the MFA option that is right for them. Every organization is going to be different, so what is right for one company might not be right for another. The right MFA solution is going to help the organization meet its compliance needs while improving security and improving productivity. The challenges above also need to be minimized, some companies need to think about this as well.
Examining the Advantages of Commercial Multifactor Authentication
Finally, it is time to take a closer look at the numerous advantages of multi-factor authentication in the commercial setting.
One of the biggest advantages of using multi-factor authentication in the business world is that this is going to make it easier for companies to comply with mandatory requirements. For example, businesses that deal with social security of financial information always have to use multi-factor authentication when they are working with this type of data. This is put in place for the protection of the user.
Another major advantage is that this is going to make the process of logging in much less daunting. The added layer of security actually allows companies to streamline the login process, making it easier for their individual employees.
This type of shift will also set the expectation of security at the forefront. This is great for employees who know they need to prioritize the security of the information they use while also letting customers know that they should expect their information to be protected. Therefore, setting security expectations is great on multiple levels.
In addition, MFA can also be used to limit where and how employees can access information. For example, if employees try to access information remotely, they need to have the ability to perform the various multi-factor authentication sign-on tasks. If they cannot, then they cannot access the data. This prevents people from accessing data in areas where the WiFi security measures might be weak, or even unsecured.
These are a few of the major advantages that come with using multi-factor authentication. Lastly, it is important to take a closer look at something called a single sign-on solution, as this might be right for some companies.
An Overview of Single Sign On
Lastly, companies that are thinking about using multi-factor authentication need to decide if they want to bump up the sophistication of their sign-on measures. For example, they might want to use something called a single sign-on solution, which allows people to log in using a single set of credentials. This makes the process easier, authenticating the person using multi-factor authentication. For example, some people might have an ID badge as the second layer of security in addition to a password. Once the user is authorized the access a certain set of information, they can access all of the information that is tied to their profile. This allows them to access other applications without having to entire in their credentials a second time. This makes it easier for people to access the information they need. In this respect, a single sign-on solution might be practical for some companies.
Think About Using Multi-Factor Authentication
This is a brief overview of the numerous benefits that multi-factor authentication can provide to a company. It is important for companies to protect their own data as well as that of customers. While a password is a good first step, it is not enough. As tech continues to evolve, so are hackers. As a result, they will be able to get through even advanced passwords with ease. In order to prevent this, it is critical to leverage the power of multi-factor authentication. Companies that are interested n learning more about multi-factor authentication need to work with an experienced partner who knows how to find the right multi-factor authentication for the business. That is where we can help.
Contact Secur01 Today
At Secur01, we work hard to stay at the front of our field. This includes the world of cybersecurity and multi-factor authentication. We have a lot of experience with this process and can help people find the right multi-factor authentication options for their needs. We can even help with IT maintenance and cloud migration plans for those who are interested. If you would like to learn more about multi-factor authentication and how we can help you, give us a call today! We would be happy to help you with all of your IT needs. Allow us to protect your business from outside threats using multi-factor authentication and other security measures.