Tech Talk

Two-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication for Your IT Security

Posted by Paul Ferdas on Nov 14, 2016 2:35:00 PM
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Two-factor and Multi-factor Authentication

Just by reading or watching the news, it is obvious that phishing and other social engineering cyberattacks have become almost a daily occurrence.  With concern increasing, businesses are looking for ways to ensure private information stays private without restricting authorized personnel access to their applications and data.

In every organization and business, IT experts must decide how much security is enough and consider its overall impact on the end user’s usability and productivity. So how do we ensure the person logging in is in fact the person the account belongs to?  More and more, organizations are turning to two-factor and multi-factor authentication.

What is Single, Two-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication?!

Multi-factor authentication is essentially the process of needing several pieces of information to gain access rather than one or two.  For example, a username and password combo is considered single-factor authentication, and tokens are considered two-factor.  Single factor is the most common authentication scheme, but for a growing number of businesses and individuals single factor is just not enough for your organizations IT security.

Token Security?

Token security is a process of generating a one-time token by a dedicated device or by an app on a smartphone. This form of authentication is frequently used and is gaining popularity in both business and personal life. After a username and password is provided, a set of numbers and/or letters are produced and sent to the end user who must then enter the code, in a set amount of time, to gain access.

Is Biometrics Possible?

Another way to authenticate accounts is biometrics, or the process of using the users body to gain access.  This includes the use of fingerprints, handprints, facial recognition and iris scans. It’s even possible to use unique characteristics of the user’s voice to authenticate the individual.  Unfortunately, this is difficult and expensive to deploy since specific hardware to “read” the biometric information is necessary – and let’s face it, most of us do not need to hear the Mission Impossible theme song every time we log in at work.

So What’s Right for You?

Ultimately, the right amount of authentication depends on the organization and how sensitive your data is.  With today’s technology, it would be entirely possible to require four or five different forms of authentication to log in to an account. But how many users have access to information that is so valuable that it justifies a ten-minute routine to log in? Adding just a second factor, especially one that can’t be easily shared or stolen, provides significant security with minimal impact on usability.

If you are interested in learning more about authentication, token security enablement, or anything else related to making your business and its data more secure, we would love to assist. Please schedule a free call with one of our experienced Security Consultants today:

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Topics: IT Security

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