How does Multi-Factor Authentication Protect Businesses from Breaches

Bineesh Mathew | April 18, 2022 | 185 views

databreach Blog

“Multi-factor authentication is a method of computer access control in which a user is granted access only after successfully providing several authentication factors to an authentication mechanism. The authentication factors are typically from at least two of the following categories: knowledge (something they know), possession (something they have), and inheritance (something they are)”.

- IBM

The key benefit of multi-factor authentication is that it adds extra security levels and reduces the risks of hacked customer identities.

Each company has its collection of web-based apps. Most of them include shared documents, files, folders, videos, and audio to facilitate the creation of internal and client profiles. Regrettably, as cyber-attacks have become more common, organizations have become more vulnerable.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) becomes crucial in these circumstances for most enterprises, large or small. In a word, MFA significantly decreases the risk of a security breach, ensuring the safety of critical data.

The following statistics show the importance of MFA in businesses.
  • According to Microsoft, MFA can prevent 99.9% of attacks on your accounts
  • More than 55% of enterprises use MFA to protect their security, and that number rises each year
  • With 68% of use, mobile push notifications are the most common authentication method
  • Only 26% of companies use multi-factor authentication in the U.S.
  • 77% of mobile devices have biometric security enabled
  • 61% of people use the same password on multiple services
  • 81% of security breaches are due to weak or hacked passwords
  • Google’s authenticator can protect an account from up to 100% of automated attacks

Source: dataprot

Why Companies Should Opt for Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA is critical for information security. It safeguards data against possible breaches, monitors employee accounts, and deters hackers. Additionally, it protects even if their login credentials are accidentally disclosed. When adopting multi-factor authentication as part of your cybersecurity strategy, keep the following five benefits of multifactor authentication in mind:


It Eliminates Password Risks

Since its inception, passwords have been hacked or guessed. Over 65% of accounts have duplicate passwords. This means that if an attacker gets access to the password of an employee's email account, there's a chance they've also found the password for safe or sensitive data farther inside the network. Multi-factor authentication is a better practice to avoid risk of password compromise.


Better Access Control

Rather than relying just on passwords, which may be shared or copied, multi-factor authentication enables a company to specify who has access to sensitive or secret data and who does not. According to the 2021 Ponemon research, 51% of respondents do not check out third-party security and privacy procedures before giving access to sensitive and personal information.

Additionally, 66% of respondents have not identified the third parties with access to their organization's most sensitive data. Multi-factor authentication makes sure that only authorized individuals can access data.


It Assures Consumer Identity

Multi-factor authentication is an important security measure to prevent identity theft. The security provided by the traditional username and password login is improved by using this strategy. Cybercriminals will have trouble breaching TOTP because it is communicated through SMS or automated phone calls. A consumer must provide two pieces of information to gain access to a resource. Multi-factor authentication ensures that verification is carried out with utmost care.


Adaptable for Different Use Cases

Certain situations require increased security, such as completing high-value transactions and gaining access to sensitive data through unfamiliar networks and devices. Adaptive MFA evaluates risk by taking into account environmental and behavioral factors, including geolocation, IP address, and time since the last authentication. For example, if the IP address is risky or there are other red flags, more authentication factors may be added to identify the authenticity of the user.


Adapts to the Changing Workplace

As the workplace evolves and more employees work remotely, businesses demand more sophisticated multi-factor authentication solutions to handle more complicated access requests. This can be called adaptive MFA.

Multi-factor authentication provides multiple levels of security, but adaptive multi-factor authentication looks at the risk a user poses when they try to get access to a tool or piece of information, taking into account things like the user's device and location.

For instance, an employee logging in from the corporate office premises is in a trusted area and is unlikely to be requested for an extra security element. But, if the same employee logs in from a coffee shop, checks business emails on the phone, or connects over an unprotected WiFi network, they may need an extra layer of authentication to ensure user validity.

Additionally, adaptive MFA enables dynamic policy adjustments and step-up authentication. For example, users may be required to provide a second (or even third) assurance element before gaining access to highly sensitive data, such as customer data in Salesforce.


Trending Multi-Factor Authentication Tools


LastPass

LastPass, the most popular multi-factor authentication solution, allows users to store their passwords and credentials across devices securely. The LastPass MFA technology combines biometric and contextual factors, giving you a password-free experience on all devices.


Authy by Twilio

Authy 2FA is a popular two-factor authentication application for small and medium-sized businesses. Their smartphone software create two-factor authentication tokens right on the device, so they no longer worry about SMS and voice security.


RSA SecurID® Access

RSA SecurID Access is an enterprise-level multi-factor authentication and access management system that lets businesses set risk-based access controls across the company.

Their solutions include push notifications, biometric authentication, one-time passwords, and SMS messaging. Additionally, RSA SecurID Access supports both hardware and software tokens.


Idaptive MFA

Idaptive is a cloud-based, mobile, and on-premises enterprise-grade solution. Their solution is a platform that integrates multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, mobility analytics, and user activity analytics.


Key Takeaways

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a method of ensuring that a person is who they are by requiring them to enter a system or complete a transaction using two or more forms of credentials.

The fundamental purpose of multi-factor authentication is to ensure that even if an unauthorized individual breaches or compromises the first layer of protection, the penetrator still has one or more barriers to overcome before gaining access to their digital or physical target.

MFA is gaining traction. 83%of respondents in a recent poll throughout the United States reported that their organization uses multi-factor authentication to confirm access credentials.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is meant by multi-factor authentication?

Numerous distinct authentication factors are used in a multi-factor authentication system. Multifactor authentication may be accomplished via a single multifactor authenticator or a set of authenticators that each gives a unique factor.


What are some of the types of multi-factor authentication?

Some of the types of multi-factor authentication are:
  • SMS token authentication
  • Email token authentication
  • Hardware token authentication
  • Software token authentication


What are some of the benefits of MFA?

Some of the benefits of MFA are that it:
  • Assures consumer identity
  • Adds next-level security
  • Meets regulatory compliances

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