There was a time when creating a strong password or pin was enough to protect your digital information. But hackers are a resourceful bunch.
From bots that can brute force passwords to phishing attacks that give them access to essential login credentials, it’s best to go the extra mile in protecting sensitive data.
That’s where multi-factor authentication (MFA) comes in.
What is MFA?
MFA adds an extra layer of cybersecurity to your Privileged Access Management (PAM) system by requiring more than just a username and password for access.
As the name suggests, it requires multiple factors before allowing users into MFA-protected systems, data, or networks.
It typically requires three layers of protection:
- Knowledge – something you know: a PIN or password,
- Possession – something you have: security keys or fob, phone OTP
- Inherence – something you are: biometric authentication such as iris scanners and fingerprints
Unfortunately, not everyone is familiar with MFA yet as it’s still an emerging technology. Even 2-Factor authentication is still not as widespread as it should be.
However, for organizations that deal with a lot of important data, it’s important to use everything in your power to protect it to prevent potentially massive financial and brand equity losses due to data breaches and hacks.
MFA Best Practices
There are many reasons not to implement MFA yet in your PAM systems, especially when the cybersecurity providers have yet to become experienced in MFA implementation. In addition, some IT professionals still rightfully question its reliability, speed, and efficacy.
However, a reliable cybersecurity provider can address these issues with proper implementations that adhere to the following best practices:
Choose a reliable enterprise solutions provider.
While you may already have an in-house cybersecurity team, it’s best to hire an experienced enterprise solutions provider to set up your MFA systems.
These providers can best advise you on the best MFA solution setups that work best for your particular systems and data.
Go for a simple, frictionless user experience to increase the adoption rate.
Even the best MFA systems will fail if not enough users choose to utilize them.
Make the whole setup process as simple and frictionless as possible.
For example, go for an easy-to-deploy mobile app on the phones they’re already using instead of going for clunky key fobs for low-level access.
Deploy MFA across your entire network, tools, and applications.
Your cybersecurity is only as good as its weakest link.
Implementing MFA to just one application or server won’t do much good if the rest of your network is still vulnerable. That’s why it’s best to deploy multi-factor authentication across your entire infrastructure, including all users, applications, and networks.
When cybercriminals hack into one part of your system, they can potentially use that access to gain entry to the rest of your system. But with a multi-factor authentication solution in place to protect all parts of your network, the chances of finding that vulnerability are significantly reduced.
Provide end-users (employees, customers, etc.) with options.
One of the cons of implementing an MFA is that some users may find it intrusive or annoying.
This is especially true for manual authentication methods such as one-time passwords (OTPs), which may take some time before it arrives.
To get around this, you should provide users with multiple options when implementing MFA.
For example, in the possession level factor, let them choose between a security token or fob and biometric authentication like fingerprints or facial recognition. Or, in the knowledge factor, let them set their own PINs instead of preset OTPs.
Employ behavioral analytics in your system.
Another best practice when implementing MFA is to add a layer of user behavior analytics.
This technology can detect suspicious activities and flag them before they have the chance to do any damage.
One excellent method companies are doing this is via geolocation. MFA systems can detect if someone is trying to log in from an unusual location.
It can also monitor account activity for signs of malicious behavior, such as multiple failed logins or sudden changes in usage patterns.
Offer training and support for end-users.
MFA authentication is best used when everyone in the organization knows how to use it properly.
That’s why it’s essential to provide training and support for users on best practices for multi-factor authentication. This will help ensure that users know what’s expected of them and what they can do to protect their accounts.
Regularly assess and recalibrate the system.
Finally, it’s best to regularly assess your multi-factor authentication systems to ensure everything is working properly.
This includes both the technology as well as user behavior and compliance. Make sure to monitor the usage patterns of users and look out for any unusual or suspicious activities that could point to a security breach.
More importantly, survey MFA users, particularly on its ease of use. You don’t want these cybersecurity measures to be the cause of productivity loss due to user frustration.
Is Multi-Factor Authentication Enough?
While MFA is already a veritable security measure for organizations, it’s best to employ other security solutions and best practices to secure your operations further.
This includes data encryption, firewall implementation, and regular system updates.
By taking the necessary steps to implement multi-factor authentication best practices in your organization, you can help ensure that your sensitive data is kept safe from cyber threats.
Multi-Factor Authentication can be a critical part of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy when implemented correctly.
By following best practices when implementing MFA, you can ensure that your data is protected and your users are safe.
With the right security solution in place, you can rest assured that your organization will be secure no matter what comes its way.
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