The news of identity thefts is making headlines every once in a week, causing not only data loss but also spoiled brand image. No doubt, security has become a major board-room discussion because nobody wants to be in the next headlines. Growing identity thefts are exploiting user credentials to walk through and therefore brands are focusing majorly on the latest perimeter, ie customer identities. Most of the websites have already moved from single factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the savior here as it reduces the password risk by asking users for additional information to authenticate in order to provide access to the desired resources.
The article here is going to explain the best practices to implement multi-factor authentication for your organization:
1. Eliminate Silos by implementing Multi Factor Authentication everywhere:
Did you know if you deploy multi factor authentication in silos, it can make your brand more exposed to theft? It includes any on-premises and cloud resources and applications. With the increasing shift towards cloud, businesses must make sure that the security across cloud as well as on-premise components should be consistent thereby eliminating any silos. Moreover, brands also need to implement the solution for remote network access in order to provide secure access to their distributed employees and business partners. Additionally, brands must not forget implementing the solution to all servers and privileged commands as these two are the most vulnerable to cyber attack chain.
Deploying the solution across enterprise eliminating silos, makes brands more secure from cyber attacks. So guys, if you want to stay safe from unauthorized access and data thefts, make sure to implement the solution across all users (end & privileged ones), all resources (cloud and on-premises based), server login and privileged elevation.
2. Move over from “always on” to “adaptive” approach:
Now the increased security threats have made businesses widely adopt multi-factor authentication, but again, they must make sure it is balanced with user experience. If you will enforce user to go through additional security measurements every single time, they are going to run away. Also don’t forget the additional cost to maintain it. In such a scenario, businesses are recommended to go with an adaptive approach which is based on context. The need of a robust yet better usable and cost-effective solution is must and that’s where adaptive multi factor authentication or step up multi factor authentication comes into the picture.
In adaptive or step up MFA, the access request makes use of contextual factors (location, IP, etc) to decide the level of security needed. For eg, if the user is requesting accessing from the corporate network, it won’t be required to go through multiple factors and entering right password would be sufficient. But contrary, if the user is requesting access from some unusual location or network, it will have to go through additional security factors in order to verify himself. Below are some major benefits of using adaptive multi-factor authentication for your business:
- Improved user experience, by requiring the minimum complexity while authentication for any access request.
- Better fraud detection compared to traditional binary rule sets.
- Builds a more flexible as well as long-lasting architecture so that emergence of new elements can be painless.
- Cost effective solution since more expensive options are used only on demand.
So friends, if you want to be robust, but at the same time don’t want to ruin user experience and burn hole in your pocket, go with adaptive multi factor authentication approach.
3. Provide options for authentication factors:
The ideal business will never ruin its customer experience. So in order to get success, you must balance security and customer experience. If you are thinking that “one size fits all” approach will make you win, you are so wrong. Instead, you should provide the flexibility to deploy the solution that suits every type of masses. Some most common authentication factors available are:
- Hardware tokens, that requires use of a hardware device for verification like a USB device or smart card.
- Soft tokens, require users to verify themselves by getting a push based one time password in mobile apps. This option provides better convenience.
- Text Message, sends the one time password on user’s mobile phone via text message that he needs to submit to get himself verified.
- Phone Call, requires user to give the correct response to the voice call to complete verification.
- Email based, sends a link to the registered mail id. The user needs to click on the link to get access.
- Other commonly used authentication methods are biometric, security questions, etc.
Providing options will give users the flexibility to choose the best option as per their need. For eg, if there is no internet connection, user can go with SMS based authentication.
4. Make sure the MFA solution supports industry standards:
Standards make sure that the tool can easily interoperate with your existing infrastructure. So whenever you deploy multi-factor authentication solution for your business, you must make sure that it is easily interoperable with your existing IT infrastructure without causing any hurdle.
5. Keep monitoring the solution on regular intervals:
If you believe that it is “once deployed and then all set for forever” approach, you need to think again! The risk of identity theft is increasing like never before. The dynamic environment requires businesses to do proper monitoring on regular intervals to make sure their users are safe. In case of any issue, proper modifications must be made to keep your users safe and happy.
Lastly, multi-factor authentication, undoubtedly makes the authentication process more robust. It must be implemented in the proper manner to drive maximum benefits.