Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) solutions improve business
security by enforcing additional authentication measures, such as a text
message, or a fingerprint, before users can access accounts that hold sensitive
information or controls.
Essentially, with MFA in place businesses have an extra layer of security over their accounts. It helps to ensure that everyone who accesses company information is really who they say they are, helping to reduce the risk of account compromise. Multi-factor authentication tools should send users an email, text, or require a biometric check, such as a FaceID check or fingerprint scan, before users can login.
This isn’t designed to make life more difficult, but to stop
attackers from getting into accounts in the case of a password compromise. It
should still be easy and quick for legitimate users to get into accounts, which
is why finding the right MFA solution is so important.
To help you find the right solution, here’s our list of the top MFA solutions for businesses. In this list, we’ll cover what MFA functionality each vendor offers, what customers have to say about the solution, and what the extra benefits of each service are. Many of these solutions will fit into a wider identity management platform, so we’ll also cover any additional features each vendor provides. Let’s jump right into the list!
What Are MFA Solutions?
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a critical security process which adds an additional layer of protection to user authentication. Two-factor authentication is now a familiar process for many people today, as it has been increasingly incorporated into consumer processes and technologies. However, businesses adoption has been slower, despite a clear security need for the technology given its proven effectiveness in reducing account takeover attacks and data breaches.
Enterprise Multi-Factor Authentication solutions enable organizations to enforce the requirement for two or more factors of authentication to be applied to corporate accounts. This includes integrations with SaaS applications, custom applications, on-premises applications, and end-user endpoints.
Solutions featured enforce credential-based authentication via hardware and software. This may include asking an end user for a password, alongside the use of a credential keys facial recognition, or a one-time passcode delivered to a smart device.
Enterprise MFA solutions also enable network administrators to gain better visibility into users connected to their network and enforce protection across all users, with detailed reporting dashboards and policy controls. For this reason, MFA is seen as a fundamental step in achieving zero trust principles for organizations.
Enterprise Multi-Factor Authentication solutions are often delivered as part of a wider identity and access management platform, which can include wider authentication features such as single sign-on, privileged access management and directory management.
3 Key Questions To Ask MFA Providers?
1. What Integrations Do You Provide, And How Is The System Deployed?
Supported integrations and deployments are a critical question to ask multi-factor authentication providers. It’s important that the system you use can enforce authentication across all applications, devices, SaaS services and custom architecture needed, and that deployment is scalable and easy to manage.
As previously noted, we also highly recommend using a service that supports user-self enrolment, as this helps to streamline the process for admins, and is more convenient for end users who can choose the method of secure authentication that best fits their workflows.
2. How Can Users Authenticate If They Lose Access To Their Phone Or Credential Keys?
MFA solutions often leverage end user smartphones or hardware tokens to authenticate access. This is highly secure, as it’s unlikely cyber-criminals will have access to physical devices for most attacks, and very convenient for end users, who can gain access at the click of a button.
However, we’re all human and there will be times when users will lose their credential token. So, a key question to ask providers is how easy it is for admins to reset end-user access to make sure that people can securely and quickly get access to their systems and get back to work.
3. What Management Controls And Reporting Do You Offer?
Deploying MFA should enable much greater admin controls and oversight into end-user security. A key feature to consider is the usability and granularity of the admin dashboard. You should be able to see all connected users, the health of their devices, and any security risks that the system has identified. Look for services offering detailed reporting and granular policy configurations to ensure you can support and protect users.
Why Do You Need An MFA Solution?
The typical authentication process involves a single authentication factor: a password. This is something the user knows. Unfortunately, passwords on their own are not a secure enough method of authentication in the modern security landscape.
Users today have hundreds of passwords to remember, which often leads to weak passwords being used, which can be cracked by password-based attacks. Phishing attacks have also highlighted the weaknesses of passwords: if a user is successfully phished, they can give up their passwords without knowing they have been compromised.
Multi-factor alleviates these risks by adding at least one further factor of authentication. This can include something the user is, such as a biometric credential, commonly a fingerprint, facial or retina scan, or something the user has, such as a one-time-passcode delivered to a trusted device or authentication key.
This factor of authentication greatly improves the security of accounts. It reduces the likelihood of data breach by securing against phishing and account compromise. Microsoft claims that taking the step of implementing a second factor of authentication prevents 99.9% of attacks on your accounts. For this reason, we highly recommend all users implement an MFA solution as a fundamental pillar of their security strategy.
How Does MFA Software Work?
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) software works by requiring identity to be verified by at least two factors of authentication before a user is granted access to applications, devices, and networks. This vastly improves account security, making it much harder for accounts to be compromised by phishing and password theft.
There are three factors of authentication: something you know, something you have, and something you are. Traditionally, when logging into an account, users would only need one factor – something they know – such as a password.
Multi-factor authentication solutions ensure that users also need at least one second factor of authentication when logging into an account. This could be something the user has (such as a FIDO token, smartphone, or physical hardware token) or something the user is, such as a biometric check, like TouchID or FaceID.
Enterprise multi-factor authentication solutions are usually cloud-based and sold via a SaaS subscription model. They normally support a wide range of authentication options, such as OTPs, authentication apps, FIDO, physical hardware, and biometrics. They will support integrations with multiple other SaaS services, as well as on-premises applications or even custom-built apps. They will also often offer other identity security features, such as single sign-on, to further improve account security.
The most secure, modern authentication services offer adaptive authentication. This enforces stringent identity controls, such as requiring multiple forms of identity checks and verifications, when suspicious user activity is detected. For example, if a user logs in from a new country, or from a new device. This helps to improve account security, while minimizing the impact for legitimate users who need to access their accounts.