Combining a user ID and password to protect our most sensitive information is not good enough anymore. Identity theft, breaches of data, ransomware, and malicious actors mean that information security must change in order to stay ahead of security threats. Effective safety is compulsory for all organizations. The best security strategy must take into account the demands of the organization and the staff, balancing security, encryption, and ease-of-use.
There are two key security solutions for many businesses, Single Sign-On (SSO) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), to choose from. To decide what’s best for the organization, it takes careful consideration of the pros and cons of each approach. There is no reciprocal exclusion between the two mechanisms; both can be leveraged. However, knowing how to devote time and budget to one project over another can make all the difference.
MFA uses many distinct factors to verify user identity and grant access to different applications, programs, and data. To authenticate people, MFA systems typically use two or three of the following factors:
What you know: A personal identifying number, a password, or questions about recovery.
What you have: A smart card, a one-time (OTP) password, a Bluetooth device, or some other authenticator.
Who you are: A biometric authenticator, like the identification of a fingerprint or face.
Where you’re and what you’re doing: GPS, IP or Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) address, location-based authentication, and how you type in (keystroke biometrics).
The benefit of multi-factor authentication is that, in most cases, it is very secure. By combining a password, physical token, and biometrics, the risk of data and software breaches can be significantly reduced.
However, it also has the reputation of being a little difficult to manage if MFA has any advantages in securing user logins. Users need to be provided with the second element. Still, for most enterprises, the MFA safeguards against unauthorized entry.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
The principle behind Single Sign-On is very straightforward; users make a master sign-on to authenticate themselves at the start of their workday. Then, if they need to log into another application, the SSO solution logs in on their behalf. The SSO solution internally stores the various passwords for any program users need to access and then validates the users of those systems when they need to be accessed.
Single Sign-On: Benefits
Users only have to remember one password. While they may often be required to provide credentials for other systems, substantially less effort is needed.
Extra security, such as biometric authentication, may be applied or accessed to the initial Single Sign-On via a soft token, USB token, or similar encryption method. The MFA comes into action here.
SSO is fast and easy for the end-user. It saves time by not forcing them to spend time logging into many different systems.
Access risks are reduced in some situations. For example, for third-party applications, credentials may be stored internally. There is no need for external systems.
It results in fewer calls to the service desk for password resets, reducing resource demands for IT support.
Disadvantages Of Single Sign-On
If a hacker, malicious agent, or malware obtains SSO access, all systems used by SSO are compromised. SSO must be introduced with strong encryption and authentication mechanisms to prevent this from occurring.
The lack of functionality of SSO systems implies that a user cannot access other systems, being a single point of failure.
SSO and MFA: The Dual Advantage
The issue of security and authentication in various areas is addressed by both the MFA and SSO.
For customers, SSO is more convenient, but it has greater inherent security risks. The MFA is better, but it’s less convenient. What are the two areas that can be combined to provide a solution that is both simple and secure?
The encryption and authentication industry is going that way. Many of the new solutions being tested and used include the following:
At the start of the day, it needs stable MFA sign-on, similar to an SSO solution.
Granting continued access to authenticated users throughout their workday.
Requiring further verification using MFA on the basis of applicable criteria, including:
- Access to the most vulnerable devices.
- Changes in user behavior observed by software.
- Using criteria such as location, position, seniority, and the like, to determine when new authentication is needed.
- Using algorithms in particular use cases to smartly request additional credentials.
The simplicity of SSO, combined with MFA defense, provides businesses with a security posture and confidence. In addition, supplying customers with the efficiency and comfort offered by MFA and SSO means fewer password resets and calls to the help desk.