Multi Factor Authentication Benefits (MFA Pros)

Multi Factor Authentication Benefits (MFA Pros). In this article, we learn about the benefits of MFA capabilities. In addition, we get to know how it works and why it is used, as well as more about authentication methods it offers.

All in all, when it comes to information security, it is a prime subject to know about and protect it in your company. Without a doubt, multi level authentication has a way of protecting access to digital resources ( such as possible hacks).  Primarily speaking, it’s main benefit is to provide additional security layer and as a result decrease the chance of user identities becoming stolen or used. As an example, an email inbox, preventing unauthorised people to get access or fingerprint confirmation. So, by logging in to these resources by acquiring a user ID and authentication password, it is one more step of security.

Using Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) is critical for people as it enables to shield their non public facts and money owed from unauthorized access. Similar to the way it enables a corporation stable its private information. MFA provides an additional layer of protection for non public view. 

Please follow our blog article to continue learning Multi Factor Authentication Benefits (MFA Pros)

Why MFA is Important?

Firstly, the importance of MFA is a requirement of multiple forms of authentication. As a result, providing an extra layer of security for sensitive information, systems, and personal accounts, it is harder to attack your information. Moreover, it much more difficult for unauthorized users, such as cybercriminals, to gain access, even if they obtain passwords or other login credentials.

Secondly MFA protects against a variety of security threats, including:

  • Account hijacking, in which an attacker uses stolen login credentials to gain access to an account and impersonate a legitimate user.
  • Phishing and social engineering attacks, that trick users into revealing their login credentials or personal information.
  • A data breach in which sensitive information is stolen from a system or network.

MFA also helps organizations meet regulatory compliance and industry security standards. What is more, MFA is also important for personal use and helps protect your privacy. Finances and online identity are extra protected,  making it harder for cybercriminals to access your account information and personal information.

MFA Authentication Methods

Importantly, MFA has become a mainstay of the mobile device industry over the past decade. If you need to enter a verification code, receive an SMS, or scan your device, you’ve interacted with an MFA enabled system.

Below are the five most common MFA methods and we also point out where each method falls short.

1. OTP hardware token (one time password)

What it is, is a hardware device that generates a one time code based on an encryption key stored inside the device. The same encryption key is also stored on the server so that the same OTP is generated to verify the value provided by the user.

The user interface (UI) is of different types, including a physical token displaying the OTP on an embedded screen or a keypad device requiring the user to enter a PIN before displaying the OTP.

Common problems:

  • High maintenance and operating costs. Enterprises need a large staff to handle support issues and a large budget to deploy, maintain and upgrade tokens.
  • Vulnerability of tokens to theft or social engineering attacks.
  • Limited user experience (UX) – users execute operations or verify identity on the go.

2. Offline mobile OTP application

In short, it is an authentication application.

Common issues:

  • Ability to create malicious applications, then steal one time passwords and impersonate users.
  • Lack of support for businesses using third party applications.
  • Poor user experience (UX). Users constantly have to switch between identity transaction authentication apps. Moreover, users lose access whenever they change, lose or upgrade their smartphone.
  • Not a secure backup option.

3. Software Development Kit (SDK) for Software Tokens

It is a sort of software, that gets embedded into mobile applications and uses cryptographic operations to authenticate users and devices. These solutions usually provide a smoother UX. No need to switch between apps or rely on hardware devices. For example, the Soft Token SDK supports advanced cryptography, which is a significant benefit from a security standpoint, such as digital signature.

Common issues:

  • Lack of support for businesses using third party applications.
  • Users with poor user experience (UX) have to constantly switch between applications to authenticate identities/transactions. Users lose access whenever they change lose upgrade their smartphone.
  • No secure backup option.

4. SMS based OTP

This is a convenient method that does not require users to install applications. Rather, it sends a one time password via SMS to the user’s registered phone for authentication and uses it to authenticate.

Common problems:

5. Smartcards and cryptographic hardware tokens

In this case, a physical device capable of performing cryptographic operations such as decryption and signing while providing strong physical protection of keys within a fully isolated secure enclave. Not only it is used to log in to a PC (eg via a Windows smart card login), but it can also be used to digitally sign transactions to ensure that the actual user actually authorized that particular transaction. Smart cards may require special readers or may be contactless. Hence, cryptographic hardware tokens are usually connected via USB.

Common issues:

  • Operational challenges for enterprises are high deployment, maintenance, upgrade and replacement costs.
  • Similar UX issues with OTP hardware tokens.

So how does it work? Multi Factor Authentication Benefits please continue reading.

How does MFA work ?

When users try to access an MFA protected system or account, they are prompted to provide some form of authentication. Also the specific methods used depend on the MFA system in use, but generally fall into the following categories:

1.What the user has – Surely this includes a security token (such as a smart card or USB token), a phone or mobile device that can receive a one time code via SMS or app.

2. Custom – Generally this includes biometric information such as fingerprints or facial recognition.

3. What you know – This may include your password or PIN.

When a user provides all required forms of authentication, the MFA system validates them and grants access to the system or account.

Users attempting to access their MFA protected email account are prompted for their password. After, they receive a one time code generated either via SMS or by an application. If you enter the code correctly, the system grants you access to your email account.

In order to configure your MFA system to require authentication methods set it in a specific order or to work concurrently. Either/or to require different methods based on access type or level of access.

Multi Factor Authentication Benefits (MFA)

Well, it is scalable to fit your changing user base with a variety of methods that are easily added or removed as needed. Some examples of scalable MFA methods include:

  • Customizes security solution – Each authentication factor offers a variety of options, allowing businesses to customize the user experience to suit their needs. For example, a user accesses a fingerprint scanner on a smartphone, but not a retinal scanner or voice recognition. For some use cases, two factors may be sufficient, while other use cases may require all three authentication factors.
  • Enables enterprise mobility – The pandemic has made remote work a necessity for many organizations and has accelerated their digital transformation. Enabling employees to easily and securely access the resources they need using their mobile devices increases productivity

Signing in to business applications with MFA gives your employees the flexibility and 24/7 access they need while protecting your network and data, especially when integrated with single sign on.

  • Enables Risk based Authentication – Use authentication to assess the risk level of user sign in requests and then adjust the required MFA level. This makes it easier for MFA to scale to a changing user base, as users who are considered low risk may need to complete fewer authentication steps.
  • One Time Passwords (OTP) via SMS or App – OTPs can be sent to users’ phones or generated by the app, so you easily add or remove users as needed.
  • Reduces operating costs – Notifying customers of suspicious activity on their accounts costs companies time and money. Thanks to MFA, it reduces the chance of fraud by reducing help desk work and freeing staff to focus on more complex customer service issues.
  • Comes with easy implementation – Non invasive in nature. Basically, this does not affect the rest of the virtual space of your organization or institution. And with an intuitive user interface, consumers master it with little to no effort.

MFA Pros

  • Adds layers of security at the hardware, software and personal identifier level.
  • Businesses restrict access by time or location.
  • 99.9% reduction in security breaches versus passwords.
  • Scalable cost, as there are expensive and complex MFA tools, but there are also cheaper tools for small businesses.
  • When it comes to compliance with industry regulations like HIPAA, MFA does an excellent job of protecting data by preventing unauthorized access from unknown sources.

MFA Cons

  • Biometrics computed by MFA algorithms for personal identifiers such as fingerprints are not always accurate and may generate false positives or negatives.
  • A need to constantly improve the methods to protect against criminals who are constantly striving to hack them.
  • Hardware tokens can be lost or stolen.
  • Phone required to receive text message codes.

Thank you for reading Multi Factor Authentication Benefits (MFA Pros). We shall conclude the article now. 

Multi Factor Authentication Benefits (MFA Pros) Conclusion

In summary, multi factor authentication is a strong security measure against unauthorized access to sensitive information, is a best practice for regulatory compliance, and is implemented with a good user experience for both individuals and businesses.

In turn that leads to business boosted conversion, improves customer’s trust and reduces operating cost. Finally, is it one of the best ways to secure your login process, but it also shows your customers that you care about their security and take it seriously.

To learn more about MFA and read more related content please navigate to our blog here.

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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