Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is basically a method of authentication that requires users to use at least two different verification factors to prove their identity in order to gain access to a website, mobile application, or other online resources. In this way, the attacker also has at least one more hurdle to breach before gaining access to the target’s account if one element is breached or broken. At least two authentication factors are used for most Multi-Factor Authentication implementations.
The Working of Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is the mechanism by which the identity of the user is authenticated using multiple technologies. In comparison, to prove the identity of the user, Single-Factor Authentication (or only “authentication”) uses a single technology. With Multi-Factor Authentication, users must combine verification technologies or authentication factors from at least two different classes.
Factors of Authentication
This is normally a password, PIN, passphrase, or questions and their corresponding responses. It’s a combination of:
Something You Know: The user must enter information that can then be compared by the backend against that which has been previously set up or processed in order to satisfy this technology.
Something You Have: Today, most users use the authenticator app on their smartphone as the system that generates these codes or enables them to reply back to a server behind the scenes with a one-time passcode.
Something You Are: This is something that can be used to recognize a unique person, including fingerprints, retina scans, facial recognition, voice recognition, or the actions of a person (such as how hard or fast they type or swipe on a screen).
For the authentication method, at least two different solutions from at least two different technology groups must be used in order to achieve Multi-Factor Authentication. As a result, it would not be considered Multi-Factor Authentication to use a PIN coupled with a password, whereas using a PIN with facial recognition as a second factor would be. Using more than two types of authentication is also appropriate. Increasingly, however, most users want frictionless authentication (the ability to be checked without verification).
The Difference between Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
The distinction is straightforward between Multi-Factor Authentication and Two-Factor Authentication. To be called two-factor authentication, an authentication solution would enable the user to present two authentication criteria, such as “what you have” and “what you know,” to clear up the problem. Multi-Factor Authentication is much more comprehensive. In the authentication method, it actually allows the company to use two or more variables.
Multi-Factor Authentication: The Key Benefits
Multi-Factor Authentication provides companies who use it as part of their security policy with some primary advantages:
Improved Security: Multi-Factor Authentication offers improved security over single-factor authentication processes and static passwords.
Helps in Compliance Management: Multi-Factor Authentication will help businesses comply with the regulations of their industry. In order to satisfy the strong authentication requirement of PSD2, for example, MFA is required.
Increased Flexibility and Productivity: The user experience can be enhanced by breaking the dependency on passwords. Organizations can theoretically enhance security and improve the user experience by concentrating on low-friction authentication challenges.
To ensure data security and meet mandatory data compliance guidelines, enterprises would do well to invest in the latest data security and analytics solutions available in the market. That would make it much easier to achieve the above-described objectives.