Multi-Factor Authentication: All You Need To Know

    Across sectors, organizations of all sizes are waking up to the reality that their cybersecurity plan has crucial gaps. When 80% of breaches are still triggered by weak, reused, and corrupted passwords, organizations need to concentrate on putting in place a better security base that corrects inadequate protection hygiene without slowing down workers. When it comes to preventing unauthorized entry, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the most powerful solutions an organization can invest in.

    But what is multi-factor authentication, and if you need it for your business, what do you need to know about it? Especially if your company has limited resources or budget and should be strategic while investing in security solutions?

    What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?

    To add safety checks to the login method, multi-factor authentication, or MFA, was created. The user is expected to provide additional details to verify their identity before being given access to any resource. You can help prove that someone is who they claim they are by providing more login proof-points while making it even more difficult for someone else to break through your defenses.

    An account is secured by multi-factor authentication with:

    Something you know: A username or password-like knowledge factor.

    Something you have: A phone or security key, that is, a possession factor.

    Something you are: Like biometrics, that is, inherence factors.

    Even if a password is compromised, without all the required variables, attackers won’t be able to enter an account.

    Is two-factor authentication (2FA) the same as MFA?

    Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a type of MFA. 2FA is recognizable to many people because there are now many popular 2FA consumer apps that connect with personal services such as email, banking, social media, and cryptocurrency. The 2FA and MFA, however, are not the same.

    Two different factors are combined by 2FA: your password (knowledge) and a code created by a smartphone app (possession) or a fingerprint swipe (inherence).

    On the other side, MFA goes beyond two factors to three or more, such as a username or password (knowledge), a push notification to a trusted device (possession) and a fingerprint swipe (inherence), or secret, contextual factors are leveraged. Adaptive multi-factor authentication (adaptive MFA) that leverages a combination of biometric and contextual factors is provided by the best MFA solutions. An all-in-one solution improves overall protection while reducing friction during the login experience.

    2FA is a great starting point for many enterprises. Still, when users have various habits, personal devices, levels of access, and attributes, a one-size-fits-all authentication solution does not work. The best alternative is true MFA, as the opportunity to leverage more variables and adjust criteria to various situations to prove the identity of someone implies a smoother experience of authentication and a substantially reduced probability of successful attacks.

    Types Of Multi-Factor Authentication

    Multi-factor authentication comes in various forms. For more than a decade, MFA technology has been around, and there are more choices to choose from than ever before. The increase in the number of personal smartphones and the development in mobile technology (such as cameras and advanced sensors) have had a particularly significant effect on MFA choices.

    Methods that are popular include:

    SMS text and voice codes


    Software tokens

    Hardware tokens

    Push notifications

    Each of these methods, whether due to usability, expense, or comparative security, has its pros and cons.

    The best authentication framework gives you the opportunity to choose more than one MFA approach so that you can invest in one robust solution while adjusting to the specific use cases of your organization.

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