Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication: Boosting Security And Productivity

    Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become a part of our daily lives. It tests users for two or more authentication factors from various categories to ensure that they actually are who they claim to be before providing access to their chosen resource or application. MFA offers a greater degree of user identity assurance than basic authentication of the username/password. Yet, it does have its own limitations. The MFA depends on a one-size-fits-all solution in its simplest form, requiring an additional element regardless of the situation. For users who authenticate under usually low-risk circumstances, this can be repetitive.

    While there is no doubt that MFA offers better protection than passwords alone, with adaptive multi-factor authentication (adaptive MFA), you can further improve security and have a more seamless user experience. In order to decide whether or not a user should be permitted to use a specific resource, adaptive MFA utilizes contextual variables and logic-based mechanisms, such as geo-location, IP address, time of day, and system identifiers.

    Adaptive authentication measures the risk of a given operation dynamically by applying a risk-based approach to authentication criteria based on:

    • The actual state of authentication of the account

    • The resource risk involved

    • The background of the request

    This risk-based approach enables you to establish policies that, as defined by risk and not by default, require an additional factor only when required.

    Adaptive multi-factor authentication offers greater control and flexibility, allowing you to strike a balance that is just right between security and experience. The adaptive MFA assists you to:

    1. Customize risk-based criteria for authentication

    2. Use flexible, contextual policies to pass protection measures up or down

    3. In low-risk settings, such as on trusted networks, to increase performance by minimizing authentication criteria

    4. Increase security in high-risk circumstances, such as unfamiliar geo-locations or high-value financial transactions, by increasing authentication criteria

    5. Streamline the user experience by eliminating additional hardware and steps

    Adaptive MFA: The Benefits

    The adaptive MFA strikes a delicate balance between protection and experience, which is otherwise difficult to achieve.

    Reduced Risk of Breach

    The use of MFA makes it difficult for cybercriminals to steal passwords or to hack the networks using brute force. Given the immense costs associated with a typical breach, including lost sales and harm to the credibility of the company, it can have a tremendous effect on your top and bottom lines to mitigate the risk of a breach proactively.

    In order to implement authentication criteria based on the risk involved in the requested access, adaptive MFA expands beyond the simple multi-factor authentication protocol. You will need minimal authentication criteria if the risk is low, such as accessing non-sensitive resources from a known computer. On the other hand, you can set policies that require extra authentication if the risk is high.

    Improved User Experience

    Since the adaptive MFA allows you to dynamically move the authentication criteria up or down, it provides legitimate users with a stronger, more seamless experience. They’ll have the smooth experience they want if a user completes a routine transaction or makes a routine request. They will also be encouraged to provide additional authentication that, if they try anything more risky, provides reassurance of safety.

    The adaptive risk-based MFA is the secret to a frictionless and unified user interface being provided. You can increase security, step-up authentication criteria for high-risk access, and reduce it for low-risk access, as needed. Users that demonstrate safe and regular patterns of use, potentially the vast majority of your access requests, are able to easily and conveniently access services.


    The strength of the adaptive MFA lies in its inherent security and versatility. Some conditions, such as high-value transactions on untrusted networks and computers, call for higher protection. If other conditions are distinguished by safe and predictable use, additional safety measures are prohibitive and unnecessary. The Adaptive MFA offers the utmost flexibility, enabling you to regulate the degree of protection based on your individual risks and requirements.

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