The easy combination of a password and user ID is no longer enough to protect your sensitive information. Data breaches, identity theft, malicious actors, and malware mean that cybersecurity must advance to stay a step ahead of safety threats.
Reliable and robust security in a contemporary SMB, government, non-profit, or business environment is not just significant today; it is compulsory. The best security should consider the necessities of the business and the employee, encryption, balancing protection, and ease-of-use.
Since many security officers can choose between three password management strategies—Single Sign-On (SSO), Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)—careful consideration of the benefits is necessary to determine what is good for your company. The three are not equally exclusive. Given the things most IT organizations face, knowing how to allocate budget and time to one project over the other can make a difference.
What Are the Diverse Authentication Factors?
If users have access to their email or company payroll files, they must verify their identity before granting that access. Here are three ways a user can prove that they are who they claim to be:
- Inherence authentication
The difference between 2FA and MFA is easy. 2FA always uses two of the above ways to validate the user’s identity. MFA may involve two or three ways outlined above. “Multifactor” means several factors greater than a single one.
What is SSO?
Single Sign-On refers to a login technique where users have a set of identifications to log in to multiple applications. The major advantage of SSO is the simplified approach. Customers can access several services without interruption to insert new credentials.
A well-known example of SSO is Google’s collection of apps. With a single login, you can access your inbox, documents, calendar, videos, and photos. They can arrange a video call and shop online via central access.
There are some important advantages of SSO. This method can enhance the user experience in external use and improve workflow in internal use. It is also useful when users open applications on several devices.
Single sign-on is more centralized; hence, it may also make it simpler for IT departments to track user activity. The centralization can also reduce the number of vulnerable passwords on the network. Malicious hackers have fewer possible entry points, and the Information Technology team can block attacks more swiftly.
When applying SSO in your digital security framework, there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of. Wide access through a single access point is a major risk of this method. If a malicious hacker gains access to an SSO system, they can access all applications associated with that login. Users cannot access associated applications if the system gets compromised. Since there are fewer accounts to remember and even maintain, it is a good idea for the organization that uses SSO to enforce authentication checks due to the number of password characters required, complexity requirements, password reuse, and account lockout procedures. This is where MFA comes into play.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Since login access and password guessing are the main causes of cyber-attacks, supplementary security layers are essential. MFA needs users to insert two or more IDs to log in to an application. This information is exclusive to the user and difficult to replicate or guess. The Multi-factor Authentication strategy makes it more complicated for hackers to gain access to sensitive information.
Security specialists typically separate MFA identifications into three key categories.
- Something you recognize: Factors a user knows includes security questions, passwords, and PINs. These personal IDs are hard for other parties to guess, especially when they are simply stored and not in a remote location.
- Something you possess: This kind of factor refers to another object or device, such as a smartphone, when authenticating a user. For instance, a user may need to insert a code they get as an SMS after their password. Some other factors you may have are security badges, security tokens, or authentication applications.
- What you are: This typically includes biometric data. Face recognition, fingerprints, and speech recognition are major sources of authentication. Retinal scans are also a major part of this category. These features are regularly part of the complex security requirements.
Organizations typically select two of these factors during MFA implementation. Therefore, a user may require to insert an SMS code and a password. The system may need the MFA every time you sign in or only when you sign in to a new gadget. In this way, users prove their identity and securely access applications. These verification levels also make it more difficult for hackers.
Security questions, SMS codes, and PINs are the common types of verification factors. However, they can become more difficult as users request more security rights. More advanced login factors like security tokens and speech recognition can be added to inhibit illegal access. Biometric authentication features go further and create exclusive access. Your company must choose the correct authentication factors according to the information at risk.
Is MFA More Safe Than 2FA?
This is a normal question to ask. In case two factors are okay, three should be better. This is usually the case. If you need three different factors for verification, it is more secure than just two.
However, an attacker is unlikely to acquire a user’s password and the mobile device or the YubiKey from the same user.The chance that the attacker will also receive the user’s fingerprints is much slimmer. Inherence is difficult to steal or hack, which is why it is so cherished as a verification factor.
Multi-factor authentication may include two or three diverse factors; two-factor authentication is mostly limited to only two elements. It is more secure to require users to verify with three features; however, users presume that an MFA solution is easy to use. On the other hand, SSO is convenient for users.