We have all been used to using this combination of usernames and passwords to access systems for decades now. However, this system is flawed. What if someone discovers your password? What next?

Let me introduce Multifactor Authentication (MFA). MFA is a security process that adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts and systems. This is how it looks:

Username + Password + MFA = Access

With MFA, when you attempt to log into an account, in addition to your username and password, you are required to provide one or more additional pieces of information to complete the log in successfully. The additional piece of information could be something you know (like a password), something you have (like a security token), or something that’s you (like a fingerprint or facial recognition).

In today's world where online threats are commonplace, implementing MFA is crucial to keep your business information and systems secure. There are so many MFA options to choose from. This makes choosing the right MFA solution confusing.

In this article, we'll explain how to choose the right multifactor authentication solution for your business needs. We'll look at the different types of MFA solutions, what to consider when choosing a solution, and provide tips to help you make an informed decision.

Your first decision - Should I use MFA?

This is not really a decision at all. Wherever at all possible, you absolutely MUST use Multifactor Authentication. Your email account, your Google account, your Microsoft 365 account, your CRM account, your Amazon account, etc. etc.

If you have any personal data you care about at all, if you care about details of customers, suppliers, colleagues, friends or family, if you want to protect your own identity and your reputation, if you want to protect your money and other assets, if you have any interest in playing a part in making criminals lives more difficult… TURN ON MFA.

You can probably think of another 1,000 reasons too. MFA should not be a choice, it should be expected to be part of the security process.

According to Microsoft, MFA can block over 99.9% of account compromise attacks. Some may say that is an exaggeration as MFA is circumventable, but this should not be a reason to discount it.

If you are using systems or suppliers that do not yet offer MFA (or 2FA) as part of their security, leave them. Move on. They don’t care about you. Let’s look at the different MFA solutions.

Types of Multifactor Authentication solutions

There are different types of multifactor authentication (MFA) solutions available in the market, each offering varying levels of security and convenience. Here are some of the most common types of MFA solutions:

SMS authentication

SMS-based authentication

In this type of MFA scenario, a one-time code is sent to the user's mobile phone via text message. The user enters this code to complete the login process. This solution is easy to use but may not provide the highest level of security.

Token authenticator

Token-based authentication

This type of MFA uses a physical token known by some as a security key. This may be a USB key, smart card, or key fob used to generate a one-time code that the user enters to complete the login process. This solution provides higher security but may be more complex to implement.

Biometric authentication

Biometric authentication

This type of MFA uses the user's unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice recognition, to authenticate the user. This solution provides high security and is easy to use but may be more expensive to implement.

Authentication app

App-based authentication

This type of MFA uses a mobile app to generate a one-time code that the user enters to complete the login process. This solution is convenient and provides high security, but requires users to have a mobile device.

Choosing the right MFA solution for your business depends on various factors, including security level, ease of use, and cost.

In the next section, we'll discuss what factors to consider when choosing an MFA solution.

Factors to consider when choosing a Multifactor Authentication solution

Choosing the right multifactor authentication (MFA) solution for your business requires careful consideration of various factors. Here are some to consider:

Security level - The primary reason for implementing MFA is to improve security. Therefore, you must choose a solution that provides adequate security for your business needs. Look for MFA solutions that offer strong encryption, protection against phishing attacks, and resistance to social engineering attacks.

Ease of use - While security is paramount, ease of use is also essential. Employees are more likely to use an MFA solution that is easy to use and does not disrupt their workflow. Choose an MFA solution that is user-friendly and intuitive and provides a seamless user experience.

Cost - The cost of an MFA solution can vary significantly depending on the type of solution and the level of security it provides. Consider the cost of hardware, software, licensing fees, and ongoing maintenance costs when selecting an MFA solution. A lot of MFA solutions are free/come with the software packages you may already be using but just need to be set up.

Scalability - As your business grows, your MFA solution should be able to grow with it. Choose an MFA solution that is scalable and can accommodate your future needs.

Integration with existing systems - Your MFA solution should integrate seamlessly with your existing systems and applications. Consider the compatibility of the MFA solution with your current infrastructure and the ease of integration.

Regulatory compliance requirements - Depending on your industry, you may have regulatory compliance requirements to which you must adhere. Choose an MFA solution that meets these compliance requirements.

By considering these factors, you can choose an MFA solution that meets your business needs and provides the necessary level of security while also being user-friendly, scalable, and compliant with regulations.

Beyond MFA

MFA has been around for a few years, and solutions have been continuously evolving and improving.

MFA solves a problem, the weaknesses surrounding the use of passwords. What if we can remove passwords from the equation? Passwordless is the next generation of authentication, and it is not Username + Password + MFA.

Passwordless authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user with something other than a password. There are early passwordless solutions available for businesses to leverage. In a future article we will discuss how passwordless solutions can be used to further improve the security around user authentication.

In conclusion

In today's digital age, securing your business is more critical than ever before. With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, including criminals taking advantage of the new publicly available AI tools, businesses must take proactive steps to protect their data and systems. Multifactor authentication (MFA) is one such measure that can significantly enhance your business's security.

Choosing the right MFA solution for your business needs requires careful consideration of a range of factors, including security level, ease of use, cost, scalability, integration with existing systems, and regulatory compliance requirements. By following the tips mentioned in this blog post, you can make an informed decision and choose an MFA solution that meets your business needs and provides the necessary level of security.

At PS Tech, we understand the importance of securing your business and are here to help. Our team of experts can assist you in identifying the right MFA solution for your business and guide you through the implementation process.

Click here to schedule a consultation and take the first step in securing your business with the right MFA solution. Don't wait until it's too late - protect your business and customers from potential cyber threats and maintain their trust and confidence in your brand.

March 17, 2023 — Paul Stanyer