Multi-factor authentication (MFA) checks users for two or more authentication factors from different categories to ensure that they are truly who they claim to be before granting access to their preferred resource or application. MFA provides a higher degree of assurance of user identity than simple username/password authentication. Yet, it does have limitations of its own. In its simplest form, the MFA relies on a one-size-fits-all solution, requiring an additional element regardless of the case. This can be repetitive for users who authenticate under typical low-risk conditions.
Although there is no doubt that MFA provides better protection than passwords alone, you can further boost security with adaptive multi-factor authentication (adaptive MFA) and provide a more seamless user experience. Adaptive MFA utilizes contextual factors and logic-based mechanisms, such as geo-location, IP address, time of day, and device identifiers, to determine whether or not a user should be allowed to use a particular resource.
Adaptive authentication dynamically assesses the risk of a given operation by applying a risk-based approach to requirements for authentication based on:
• The current state of account authentication
• The resource vulnerability in question
• The background of the request
This risk-based approach allows you to create policies that require an additional factor only when necessary, as specified by risk and not by default.
Adaptive multi-factor authentication provides greater control and versatility, allowing you to strike a balance between security and experience that is just right. You are assisted by the adaptive MFA to:
1. Customize risk-based requirements for authentication
2. Use versatile, contextual policies to transfer security measures up or down
3. To improve efficiency by minimizing authentication criteria in low-risk environments, such as on trusted networks
4. Increase protection by increasing authentication requirements in high-risk situations, such as unfamiliar geo-locations or high-value financial transactions
5. Streamline the user experience by the elimination of extra hardware and steps
Adaptive MFA: The Main Advantages
Adaptive MFA strikes a delicate balance, which is otherwise hard to achieve, between safety and experience.
Reduced Risk of Breach
Using MFA makes it impossible for cybercriminals to steal passwords or use brute force to breach the networks. Given the huge costs associated with a typical breach, including the lost income and the damage to the company’s reputation, proactively mitigating the risk of a breach can have a major impact on your top and bottom lines.
Adaptive MFA extends beyond the simple multi-factor authentication protocol in order to enforce authentication requirements based on the risk involved in the requested entry. When the risk is low, such as accessing non-sensitive resources from a known device, you will need limited authentication requirements. On the other hand, if the risk is high, such as a money transfer request made from a foreign location, you can set policies that require additional authentication.
Improved User Experience
Because adaptive MFA allows you to dynamically step up or down the authentication criteria, it offers a better, more streamlined experience for legitimate users. If a user completes a routine transaction or makes a routine request, they’ll have the seamless experience they want. Also, they will be prompted to provide additional authentication that provides reassurance of safety if they attempt something more significant or risky.
The adaptive risk-based MFA is the key to delivering a frictionless and cohesive user interface. As required, you can increase protection, step-up authentication requirements for high-risk access, and decrease it for low-risk access. Users that show healthy and consistent usage patterns, probably the overwhelming majority of your access requests, are able to access resources quickly and conveniently.
The power of adaptive MFA lies in its security and flexibility that are inherent. Some situations call for higher security, such as high-value transactions on untrusted networks and devices. When safe and predictable use characterizes other situations, additional safety measures are prohibitive and unnecessary. The Adaptive MFA provides the utmost versatility, allowing you to control the degree of security based on your individual risks and demands.