APAC and MEA regions are fast becoming leaders in multifactor authentication (MFA) adoption and implementation. The Thales Report highlights that 66% of organizations in India have integrated MFA into their security systems. This is followed by the UAE (65%) and Singapore (64%). Mr. Ashish Saraf, Vice President and Country Director of Thales Group, quote “The strong growth in adoption of multi-factor authentication in India points towards rising awareness and a commitment towards ensuring high levels of security in enterprise environments.” Implementing MFA is the first step towards security and while you are at it, it is important to follow the MFA best practices to deliver seamless user experiences.
The 9 Commandments of MFA Adoption for Cyber Defense Mechanism
Choose your Vendor Wisely
- Before implementing MFA, organizations should consider these factors while choosing an MFA vendor:
- Does your vendor have built-in compliance adherence?
- How does your vendor address evolving threat vectors?
- Can their MFA solutions scale effectively with your firm’s growth?
- How safe and trustworthy is your vendor's solution?
- Is it simple to deploy their MFA solutions across your organization?
Emphasize on Usability
No MFA solution is the same. While selecting the correct MFA for business, you need to assess your organization's needs by considering the type of data that needs to be safeguarded, and the complexity of security requirements. If the MFA solution is difficult to use, users may experience MFA fatigue. Providing users to choose from a variety of multi-factor authentication factors is one way to ensure simplicity in MFA usage.
Utilize a Variety of Multi-factor Authentication Factors
When securing your application's authentication factors, keep all types of users in mind. It is not ideal to have only one authentication factor for all users. Employees, for instance, may not have access to mobile phones at work for authentication, but dealers do. In such circumstances, SMS OTP can be a good authentication option for dealers, while biometrics or tokens can be a better factor for employees. In short, having different authentication mechanisms allows customers to select the one that is most convenient for them, resulting in a better user experience.
Educate Users About Multi-factor Authentication
This may appear to be simple, but educating your users is one of the most crucial parts of MFA best practices. Most academicians and IT leaders feel that the user is the weakest link in the security chain. As a result, no number of settings can guarantee better security if users do not use them effectively. It is mandatory to adequately educate users on the need for multi-factor authentication and later (after the MFA implementation) on how to utilize it effectively.
These are the 2 key parameters that should be considered to educate users in the initial phase:
- Why should the user worry about MFA adoption?
- What is the ultimate purpose of implementing an MFA?
Deploy Multi-factor Authentication Across the Organization
Organizations must chalk out the available MFA choices and devise a strategy for either in-house development or determining the suppliers that can provide the features and benefits required. You should not confine multi-factor authentication to certain user roles. Instead, all users across the organization should be compelled to utilize multi-factor authentication for any account access, regardless of the sensitivity of the content. This ensures that no user account gets exposed.
Employ Adaptive MFA
In some cases, continuously requesting MFA for authentication can be an irritating experience. In such instances, adaptive or step-up authentication is the preferred option. Contextual information is used by adaptive MFA to assess whether or not to request another factor for user authentication. These contexts can be location, IP, network, device, behavior, or anything else based on the needs of the organization. This method can also be used to protect accounts from brute-force attacks. For instance, the context could be requiring another factor to complete authentication if the wrong password is inserted three times in a row.
Integrate MFA and SSO
Combining multi-factor authentication with single sign-on authentication (SSO) can ensure a pleasant user experience while also strengthening security. In addition, SSO leverages an existing user account in which the users do not need to input a password at the first phase of authentication. At the same time, the second stage of authentication remains the same as in the case of password authentication. This namely comprises the use of a second factor such as an OTP, an email link, a token, biometrics, and so on.
Factor of Attack Resistance
Although MFA can provide additional protection, it is also subject to attacks if not properly deployed. As a general MFA best practice, organizations must ensure that their MFA system is securely configured so that users understand how to utilize it efficiently. Organizations can install different authentication factors based on roles, such as high attack resistance factors for privileged accounts and good-enough factors for less privileged user roles.
Regularly Assess MFA
Since security risks are constantly emerging, organizations should re-evaluate MFA on a regular basis to ensure that installed MFA fits both users' and organizations' demands while also meeting the revised security standards.
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Having an MFA as a part of your Identity and Access Management (IAM) will strengthen customer and user trust. Cloud4C, one of the leading managed cybersecurity service providers, offers multifactor-authentication-as-a-service to constantly improve your security standards and features and give the finest protection for customers, ensuring that your security is always up to date. Protect your company networks, key assets, and data from identity theft and fraud with cutting-edge, compliance authentication systems and services. For more information, get in touch with us today!