Why Multi-Factor Authentication is an Essential Security Asset?

In post-password activities, robust web security depends on the dynamic approach developed from a range of tools and policies. It is imperative to eliminate the dependency on a single solution for holistic protection. This implies two things, namely,

  1. It is time to upgrade if you currently depend on passwords alone, with multi-factor authentication (MFA) being your first step.
  2. The MFA is more effective when utilized as a part of the coordinated strategy of security policies and applications.

Organizations are embracing cloud transformation for both reducing operational costs and modernizing the IT environment. As the cloud matures, the comfort of companies to move more of their infrastructure into a hosted environment rises.

Resolutions of Multi-Factor Authentication Go Beyond Compromisation of Passwords

With multi-factor authentication, the protection of an entire application is not dependent on a single password, but it combines the password, security token, and biometric verification. A Microsoft study indicates that MFA protects against 99.9% of malicious attacks. This applies to every user profile in any digital application.

Multi-factor authentication not only protects the applications but also offers a seamless user experience. This further eliminates the responsibility of handling complex passwords, in turn enabling greater user experiences. This also makes the user feel safe about accessing the app that is secure and will guard against identity theft. Several options exist for that extra authentication layer, which doesn’t compromise on experience, and these options include OTP, answering a security question, eye/fingerprint scan, USB hardware token, or using a VPN device.

Why is MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) Important?

A true multi-factor authentication is governed aspects from distinct categories. For example, the combination of a password and challenge question will not be considered as true MFA, because it utilizes two factors related to the category – “something you know.” Without leveraging a true MFA, the user accounts are more prone to hacker attacks. What’s even worse, according to Microsoft, only 10% or fewer users use MFA. The rate of compromise in accounts protected by multi-factor authentication is lower than 0.1%. Implementation of MFA needs a physicality, which most hackers do not have access to. This is the primary reason why MFA is able to protect almost all privileged accounts from credential-based attacks. 

It is imperative to understand that multi-factor authentication is not the silver bullet for every possible attack on accounts. Improper MFA implementations result in the reduction or elimination of its effectiveness. It is, therefore, necessary to implement multi-factor authentication along with other protections. These include vendor privileged access management for third-party vendors and privileged access management for internal credentials.

Benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication for Security

All organizations, regardless of size or industry, should consider implementing MFA as part of their overall security strategy. Here are some benefits on how multi-factor authentication is a powerful security measure that can help to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access.

  1. Improved Security. One of the primary benefits of MFA is improved security. By requiring multiple pieces of evidence to verify a user’s identity, MFA makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. Even if a hacker manages to obtain a user’s password, they will still need to provide additional evidence, such as a fingerprint or a one-time code, to gain access.
  2. Protection Against Phishing Attacks. Phishing attacks are a common tactic used by hackers to gain access to sensitive information. They typically involve sending an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a social media site, asking the user to provide their login credentials. MFA can protect against these types of attacks because even if a user falls for a phishing scam and provides their password, the hacker will still need to provide additional evidence to gain access.
  3. Compliance with Regulations. Many industries, such as healthcare and finance, are required to comply with strict regulations regarding the security of their data. MFA is often a requirement for compliance with these regulations. By implementing MFA, organizations can ensure that they are meeting these requirements and avoid potential fines or legal action.
  4. Increased User Trust. MFA can also increase user trust in an organization’s security measures. By implementing MFA, organizations are showing that they take security seriously and are taking steps to protect their users’ sensitive information. This can help to build a positive reputation and increase user trust.
  5. Cost-Effective. While MFA may seem like an additional expense, it can actually be cost-effective in the long run. The cost of a data breach can be significant, including lost revenue, legal fees, and damage to reputation. By implementing MFA, organizations can reduce the risk of a data breach and potentially save money in the long run.

The Near-Future of MFA

The market for multi-factor authentication continues to spiral up, as the demand for a more secure digital payment grows stronger. The threats are ever prevalent and continue to expand, with the number of massive data breaches and phishing attacks increasing due to weak security systems.

As the demand for MFA increases, new factor methods are being added by the vendors for making their product easier to blend in with custom corporate. The surging popularity of the smartphone authentication applications, improving the integration of authentication, and the continuous evolution of biometrics, are some of the key trends that will buoy the adoption of MFA in the foreseeable future.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pratyaksha Rawal

Pratyaksha Rawal

Pratyaksha Rawal heads development at Cloudlytics. An accomplished backend lead, she is certified in AWS and Azure, she has a deep grasp of all things cloud.

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