KYTEC NEWS HUB
5 Benefits of Implementing Multi Factor Authentication
05 September 2019
Passwords are no longer the safest way to authenticate. Whether or not it’s on your own computer or a website, the length of time a password is used and its constant duplication among different locations increases the risk of malicious activity. Should an attacker discover one of your passwords, they will use it to retrieve data from multiple locations.
Extra layers of protection
Many organisations have implemented a second layer of protection. It comes in the form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) such as Kytec’s Cisco DUO solution. For some, this is a verification via email or a code delivered to a phone. For others, it means a fingerprint or retina scan.
And while this extra authentication step may seem frustrating at first, the benefits MFA provide are enormous. Not only does this type of authentication can reduce the potential for an attack, but it also prepares you for a future where passwords will be obsolete. For those who haven't taken advantage of this yet, here are five benefits of implementing multi factor authentication solutions in your business.
- Protection in layers
MFA does the same thing as winter clothing. You wear a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat to protect yourself from the cold and wind. However, you probably also wear another layer of clothing for added warmth.
Multi-factor authentication solutions involve the same layers of protection. Therefore, if an attacker gets past your initial password, they’re stopped at the second security layer.
No matter if you receive a text message or retrieve a code from a physical token, what is presented for authentication is unique each time you access your data.
- One solution for multiple resources
Companies have been using the single authentication process for years, and MFA might be the answer to many IT concerns. Once instituted and thoroughly tested for security issues, companies may forego the password method and use a combination of MFA methods to grant you access. Furthermore, multi factor authentication may become the de facto means of access as more organisations switch to subscription-based services.
- Personal identification
One thing to remember, it is more than just text messages and unique codes. It also relates to personal identification methods in the form of biometrics. Incorporating thumbprints or facial recognition adds a unique element as they are much harder to duplicate. Not only does this allow for quicker access but further reduces the risk of malicious activity.
- Customer confidence and compliance
This is for those business owners reading this article. Have you made a move toward multi factor authentication solutions? If not, then beginning the review process is a must. Particularly, if you’ve had a security breach in the past.
No matter how strong your password policies are, your risk of attack is still high, unless you add another layer of protection via MFA. Not only is this good for your business but it also sends a positive message to your clients. It tells them that you are serious about protecting their Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
They might be a little frustrated at first dealing with the change and the extra time it takes to log in. However, these feelings will be superseded with a layer of assurance that you are committed to maintaining their business through common sense security.
There is another reason your business requires a multi-factor authentication solution: compliance. For example, financial and healthcare industries have, or may eventually implement, MFA to tighten protections on PII. The type of multi-layer authentication you deploy depends on what regulations your company adheres to.
Cisco DUO offered by Kytec is well-positioned to deliver effective Two Factor Authentication solutions to businesses.
- You prepare for the future
Passwords have been used as the default form of protection long before personal computing and smart devices became the norm. Even back then, experts declared these an insecure method of protection. Today, with an increasing amount of security breaches, these experts are being acknowledged.
Hence, utilising MFA now sets you up for a more secure future. Even today, companies are preparing for single sign-on (SSO) solutions that effectively eliminate passwords. Through the use of unique token codes and biometrics, organisations are making it easier for you to access devices and applications without fear of a breach.
How do you set up MFA?
If these benefits sound like positive moves toward more secure access, then the next step is to determine the best course of action. One of these is to find the type of MFA that fits your needs.
Today, this involves some research. You may work for a company that requires you to enable MFA on your smart device. However, the licenses are only for applications within the organisation. So, you need another MFA method for external use.
Those outside authentication methods can differ between organisations and websites. Some may ask for a unique code, others may require some form of biometrics. In most cases, these are not interchangeable.
You need to determine locations and devices that contain your most important data. When you figure this out investigate the MFA options they recommend. See if manufacturers or companies provide the ability to add licenses or permissions to existing authenticators. This helps to establish an SSO capacity.
If you are looking for a business solution, contact Kytec today to discuss Cisco DUO.
What to look out for?
As you continue your research on the right MFA solution, be cautious of the following:
- Don't select a company that asks for social security or credit card numbers as authentication. It seems obvious, but it is something always to be diligent about.
- Don't choose a company that charges a significant fee for MFA. Unless you need to purchase a biometric device, MFA should cost only a few dollars a month or nothing at all.
- Avoid companies that say their MFA products are 100% secure. While the layered method dramatically reduces the risk of data attacks, it can't protect from unrecognised or new ways to get to your information.
- Don't share your MFA information with anyone. In other words, gracefully decline your friend's request to be part of his MFA app just in case he forgets some information.
Multi-factor authentication is the near future of PII security. As technology improves, companies will make this mandatory. Especially if data breaches within major corporations continue to be part of daily headlines.