Why Is Multi-Factor Authentication Important?
Multi-factor authentication simply refers to using 2 or more ways to authenticate the identity of a user to an online account.
In reality, implementing MFA is one of the most basic ways to help secure your personal and customer data but the challenge lies in providing a seamless experience balanced with adequate security controls.
MFA is also seen as a failsafe method. Recall how you get a message from Google when you attempt to sign in with a new device? Without having MFA in place, you are opening yourself up to needless danger as even the smartest and sharpest employee can become a victim of social engineering or a phishing email.
So what are the essential elements of MFA?
- Something the user knows – like a password or PIN (Knowledge)
- Something the user has – like a USB stick or a key (Possession)
- Something the user is – like a fingerprint or facial recognition (Inherence)
- Somewhere the user is – like the location provided by GPS
As an example, if an application were using MFA, the user would be asked to provide additional information other than the username and the password. The subsequent authentication step may ask for a PIN or fingerprint or a unique code generated on the smartphone device of the user.
You should strive to ensure applications that use sensitive information require MFA for access.