Multi-factor authentication is important for online security. It helps protect your accounts from being compromised by unauthorized users by adding an extra layer of security. There are several benefits to implementing multi-factor authentication such as reducing password risks and meeting regulatory compliance.
Read on to discover more about the benefits of using multi-factor authentication in your everyday life and business operations.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an advanced authentication technique that requires two or more methods of proving a user’s identity in order to access resources or secure information. These authentication methods can include passwords, physical tokens and answers to personal questions. MFA helps to ensure that only authorized users can access their accounts.
Muti-factor authentication, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and passwordless authentication are often used interchangeably but do not mean the same things. 2FA refers to using more than one authentication method, whereas MFA refers to using two or more authentication methods. Passwordless authentication is a form of authentication that does not require a password; it can be done by using a fingerprint, a physical security key and other ways that do not require a password.
Types of Multi-Factor Authentication
When it comes to multi-factor authentication, there are several different methods used to verify user identities. Here are some of the most common authentication methods.
Email and text codes
An email or text message is sent to the user that will either link to a verification page or display a one-time code. This code has to be entered before the user can log in to their account.
Websites and other online services often use third-party applications to support mobile authentication. These types of apps generate one-time-use codes that help verify a user’s identity. Some common authenticator applications include Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator. Keeper also functions as an authenticator app.
This type of authentication uses biometric data to recognize and identify a user based on physical characteristics such as fingerprint scans, facial recognition, iris scanning and voice recognition. An example of biometric authentication is Face ID on Apple devices which uses facial recognition to identify users.
Physical security keys
Security keys look like thumb drives and are used by plugging into a computer’s USB port. Unlike other types of authentication, these types of keys have to be physically present in order for a device to be authenticated.
What Are The Benefits of Implementing MFA?
There are many benefits when it comes to implementing MFA in each of your accounts. Here are a few.
1. MFA adds extra layers of security to your accounts
Although used interchangeably, compared to 2FA, MFA offers more security layers. The numerous security measures make sure that only authorized users are able to access their information. Even if cybercriminals manage to access a user’s credentials, they will still need to use another method to confirm identities. The more authorization methods, the more secure accounts will be.
2. MFA gives you total control over who has access to your files
Multi-factor authentication enables a company to have complete control of who does and does not have access to sensitive data. Utilizing two or more authentication methods guarantees that the only people who are able to access the data are those who are authorized to do so. MFA is particularly beneficial to organizations that share information with third parties since oftentimes sensitive information is shared with them insecurely.
3. MFA secures remote working
Cybercriminals frequently attempt to intercept and gain access to a system when an employee is working remotely. MFA can assist in preventing such threats from occurring with adaptive authentication. An adaptive authentication is a form of authentication that confirms user identity by looking at a variety of information such as location, device type, behavior and more.
4. MFA meets regulatory compliance
When it comes to adhering to certain industry standards, implementing multi-factor authentication is essential and oftentimes required. For example, MFA assists healthcare providers in complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in order to protect patients’ sensitive information.
Additionally, MFA has been made a requirement by many cyber insurance providers in order to obtain coverage. Businesses run the risk of paying a higher premium or perhaps losing their insurance coverage if they do not implement MFA. U.S. President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order also requires that federal agencies implement MFA, which is a development that came after an increase in cyber attacks that included password cracking.
5. MFA takes away password risks
Password risks can be extremely common, especially if you’re not utilizing a password manager. According to Keeper’s 2022 US Password Practices Report, 56% of respondents revealed that they use the same password for multiple accounts. If cybercriminals were to find your duplicate passwords, it makes it easier for them to gain access to multiple of your accounts. By adding MFA, the cybercriminal will not be able to access your accounts without first authenticating who they are.
Along with implementing MFA, it’s important to practice good password hygiene by creating unique and strong passwords for each of your accounts. Strong passwords and MFA are the ultimate combination to keeping all of your data safe and sound.
Stay Protected With MFA
Many people choose to not implement MFA to their accounts, despite the fact that it adds extra layers of security. Our U.S. Password Practices Report revealed that only one in six respondents have used a second step to secure their accounts and have reported that they find it difficult to use. Difficulty in using multi-factor authentication is what has prevented 20% of respondents from using it at all. Learning the benefits of MFA can make everyone understand the importance of implementing it. Plus, it’ll also help them understand that using MFA is not as difficult as it seems.
Cybersecurity is becoming more and more important as technology continues to advance. MFA isn’t just important for companies to implement to protect their customer’s personal information, but also important for individuals to implement to strengthen their own online security.