Why multi-factor authentication is an edge in the Protection of company data

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In today’s digital world, security has been a major concern for every organization. Strict rules and control should be followed to protect company’s data. Organizations should set up data protection principles and user authentication mechanism to ensure there is a lawful use of information.

A multi-factor authentication (MFA) is security control mechanism to authenticate users with two or more different sets of identification evidence. MFA system verifies digital users they are who they claim they are. The users are granted access to the system after verifying their identity with two or more independent categories of credentials.

Authentication factors                           

This security system adds an extra layer of protection through combining two or more credentials

  1. Knowledge factor: It prompts you to enter the password that you already know (password)
  2. Possession factor: This is the security token you have (SIM card)
  3. Inherence factor: These are biological traits that makes you what you are (biometric verification using fingerprints).

You can log into your online bank account using username and password but for a transaction to take place, you need to authenticate yourself. E.g. authenticate application through a one-time pin send to your mobile device and request you to use that pin to authenticate your identity. The pin is used as the second authentication factor for your online bank transaction to be approved.

MFA helps in safeguarding company’s data while meeting user demand for a simple login process. User authentication and verification can be through a text message, a phone call or even through an app.

 

Why use Multifactor authentication

According to Verizon’s 2017 report published on data breach investigations, 81% of data breaches are related to using weak passwords. Hackers are getting smarter and using a variety of attack methods like phishing, web attacks or even brute force attacks to steal passwords and gain unauthorized access to confidential information.

Passwords can be used to authenticate online identity but they provide little protection to your critical data. Most of the time employees and customers always use the same password for long periods of time while accessing multiple applications online. This opens a security loophole, making it easier for hackers gain access to your system.

Multi-factor authentication mitigates these weaknesses by providing real-time security control mechanism for both employees and customers. You will be required to provide an additional evidence that you are who you say you are. This technique generates machine-learning reports to identify any inconsistency activity in the system. System alerts of any suspicious account activity are issued to the network security personnel.

 

Benefits of multi-factor authentication in the Protection of company data

  1. Ease of use: Various IoT devices connect almost everyone today. You can access your account through various devices like tablet, smartphone or even through PCs. MAF is easy to setup and you can manage your account through simple clicks. MFA can simplify your login process by providing a single sign-on authentication. Once authenticated to a single sign-in software, you can access multiple apps and there is no need to login to each app separately.
  2. Reliability: Most MFA apps provide 99.9% availability and you can verify your identification within seconds. Cybersecurity has been a top priority for every organization especially with increased use of digital data. Companies are implementing MFA as the best security feature to protect sensitive data within the company. To access sensitive data, you need to authenticate your identity using Multi-factor authentication process. The system provides strong authentication method using the highest industry standards.
  3. Strengthen security: MFA eliminates brute force attacks on weak user-password by using an authentication factor which cannot be easily guessed by hackers. Company’s store usernames and passwords in the database. This information can be subjected to attacks whether encrypted or not. MFA enable you to authenticate your identity through your mobile device or through biometric features like fingerprints or voice recognition making it difficult for attackers guess what you have or what you are.
  4. Data compliance: Every organization has to set data protection principles or standards to which everyone must adhere. Implementing MFA in your company is a step to compliance and ensures steps are being taken to reduce security breaches and monitor data access. Having the necessary compliance mechanism can mitigate audit findings and reduce any potential data threats.

 

When choosing the right security mechanism for your organisation, you need to determine the needs and requirement of your users. The security mechanism you choose may not mean your 100% protected but you need solutions that can help improve data security, meet user compliance and add productivity to the users. The cost of implementing additional security mechanism to protect your company, users and sensitive data outweigh the cost of data breaches.

 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication

https://lifehacker.com/the-difference-between-two-factor-and-two-step-authenti-1787159870

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/multifactor-authentication-MFA

https://www.pingidentity.com/en/company/blog/2015/09/09/why_you_need_multi_factor_authentication_especially_with_office_365.html