Computers and Technology

Ultimate Guide on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Individuals are turning more towards mobile banking and e-wallets for their transactions. And it opens up plenty of opportunities for banks and financial institutions to innovate. It does bring risk with it. So having solid authentication security is a must to consider for the benefit of your organization. 

An IT consulting firm can be a great source for starting multi-factor authentication to deploy for your business security.

What is multi-factor authentication (MFA)?

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is a must-have for IT security teams due to ever-increasing IT threats. It adds a layer to your cybersecurity strategy by requiring you to confirm your identity with many verification processes. It includes security questions and presenting proof of identity, among others.

Why is Multi-Factor Authentication important?

Cybercriminals have more than a billion credentials in their pocket. If you are part of that, it could take over your health records, bank accounts, company secrets, and many more. 

Multi-factor authentication is important as it makes it hard to steal your information. If you make data difficult and less enticing, thieves will choose someone else’s data for the target.

MFA blends two different factors. One is the username and password that you know. And the one could be:

  • Keycard, USB, or a cellphone to verify your identity. 
  • Fingerprint, iris scans, or biometric data to prove you are the right one. 

Adding this factor to your username and password protects your privacy more. So it’s effortless for people to set up.

4 main methods for implementing MFA

  • Two-step verification
  • Time-based one-time passwords
  • Push-based one-time passwords
  • Automated phone calls

Two-step verification: It sends users an SMS or email with a security code besides their password when logging into accounts. 

Time-based one-time passwords: They get generated by your IT security team, which you input at the login time. This method is generally used for high-risk IT accounts with a higher IT threat. 

Push-based one-time passwords: They get generated via an IT security team. And then sent to mobile devices, or IT admins can generate these codes on their mobile devices. 

Automated phone calls: need users to enter a code into the website. And it is automated by your data security service team.

Three Types of Multi-Factor Authentication

The following are the three IT authentication factors you can use to implement MFA:

  • Knowledge factor (password)
  • Possession factor (token or smartphone app)
  • Inherence factor (biometric sign-in like a fingerprint, facial or voice recognition)

Different managed IT services resources require different types of authentication factors. Your team should know which factors to implement based on the resources they want to secure.

Is multi-factor authentication free?

However, IT consulting firms can work with your security team to provide this service at a low cost. Many IT consulting companies have expert staff who can walk you through how MFA works and best practices.

How Does MFA Work?

The MFA system won’t remove username and password. But they layer one more verification method to ensure that proper people come in and thieves stay out. 

An MFA process looks like this:

  • Registration: A person links one device, such as a cellphone, to the system and asserts that this item belongs to them.
  • Login: An entity enters a username and password into a protected system. 
  • Verification: The system then connects with the registered device. Phones might get a message with verification codes.
  • Reaction: The individual completes the process with the verified device. Enter verification codes or push a button on a key fob are your next steps.

Some devices demand this type of verification with each login. But some devices remember you if you always use the same cell phone or computer to log in. you don’t need to verify each time. 

If you log in on a new computer or at an unusual time of day, verification is required. MFA seems simple, but it’s effective. It nearly blocks 100% of account hacks. This tiny step can broadly protect your security.

Benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication

  • Increasing security prevents unauthorized access to IT resources (files, data, applications, servers, etc.).
  • Unauthorized users can’t log in as they don’t have a second authentication factor. It prevents cyberattacks by verifying IT users’ identities before allowing them to access them.
  • It promotes the productivity of IT by allowing users to sign-in securely with one username and password.
  • MFA is non-invasive and easy to implement. It does not affect the virtual space of any organization or institution.

Hackers will find it difficult to crack a 2FA (two factor authentication) or MFA. It is because of the strict security measures.

Multi-Factor Authentication Best Practices

Here are some IT authentication best practices IT teams should consider when implementing MFA:

  • Use IT verification levels, or IT permissions, to control IT users’ access to IT resources.
  • Make sure IT admins have different passwords than other IT users. So unauthorized users can’t access their IT systems if they steal their credentials. 
  • IT managers can also put in place multi-factor authentication for IT admins. So unauthorized users can’t access their systems even if they steal their credentials.
  • Use smartphones or tokens to generate one-time passwords that are based on the possession factor. It includes knowledge factor (password) or inherence factor (biometric sign-in). IT teams can also use smartphone apps instead of physical tokens.
  • Implement IT multi-factor authentication on all IT resources that contain sensitive data.
  • Use risk-based IT multi-factor authentication to increase IT security. Allow IT users access to specific IT resources only if they complete the MFA process. And reduce false positives from account lockout or intrusion detection systems.

Summing up:

Security measures are essential as you don’t want unwanted guests to your system to play with your sensitive data. With multi-factor authentication, make sure that your company assets are secure against theft or fraud. By being agile in deploying security measures, you can help your business to be competitive in the market. 

Our IT consulting firm is here to help you with their best expertise with IT authentication or IT security service in Corpus Christi. After all, it’s high time that security is getting views rather than just added cost and responsibility.


Consultant at Layer One Networks

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