Why is Multifactor Authentication so Important?

Multifactor authentication, commonly referred to as MFA, is a vital tool to reduce malicious threats and minimize fraud. MFA keeps online businesses safe by avoiding and preempting security breaches and keeping all logins safe. Static passwords are a thing of the past when you consider the vital added layers of security required in today’s risky digital world. 

The fact that Multifactor authentication is able to prevent almost 100% of account takeover attacks makes it a must-have security step for just about everyone. Essentially, MFA ensures that users are who they say they are, by making them complete multiple levels of verification to prove their identity. While online criminals have savvy and sophisticated ways of stealing passwords, hacking accounts without the additional secondary or tertiary authentication information required makes it nearly impossible.     

As a security credential, authentication factors verify the identity of users wishing to access, send communications, or request data from secured networks, systems, and applications. 

Here are the primary authentication factor categories: 

  • Knowledge Factors – Users need to provide information such as passwords or pin numbers  
  • Possession Factors – Users need to provide specific information such as a one-time password sent to their specific device (hence possession) 
  • Inherence Factors – Users need to provide credentials unique to them such as fingerprints, and voice or facial recognition
  • Location Factors – Users need to comply with location factors such as permitted IP addresses 
  • Behavior Factors – Users need to comply with preset authentication factors based on specific behaviors, including things like lock-screen grids or picture passwords.

Other Benefits of MFA

In addition to increasing security overall, MFA reduces risks associated with hacked usernames and passwords. MFA is also compatible with Single Sign-On (SSO) as it can be embedded into applications and integrated simply. When combined, SSO and MFA save time and hassle overall and also improve efficiency. MFA is also highly adaptable, saving resources and money for companies as it’s very helpful for keeping employees’ login processes up-to-date and streamlined.  

In addition to assisting healthcare providers to comply with various regulatory compliance issues, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) calls for the implementation of MFA in some circumstances, especially when it comes to preventing unauthorized parties from accessing payment systems. As such, not adhering to current MFA protocols simply isn’t an option these days. In most cases, a simple user name and password for authentication isn’t enough, making MFA an absolute must. 

As well as protecting against phishing and password attacks, MFA is vital to stave off would-be hackers and online criminals, especially when it comes to ransomware threats and the stealing of personal information and payment details. There can be no question that implementing Multifactor authentication is the first port of call for security for preventing cyber attacks and other unwanted threats.