Securing Machine Identities with Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

The global multifactor authentication (MFA) market size is expected to grow from $11.1 billion in 2021 to $23.5 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 16.2% according to ReportLinker. The upsurge in security breaches, fraud and identity thefts, and BYOD/IoT devices trigger the explosion of the global MFA market size. 

The diverse industrial cross-sections are witnessing a tremendous shift to the digital channels, leading to an exponential growth in the number of machine identities, which include mobile and IoT devices. The paradigm shift to the cloud and the perimeter-less networks compel the organizations to focus on the security of the machine identities to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access to the organization’s network. 

Malware, ransomware, man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks and other such sophisticated attempts of cybercriminals are threatening the cybersecurity firewall of the organizations. To ensure security, the first step is authentication, that is, verifying the identity of the entity, it can be both of users and of machines. 

Multifactor Authentication is a core component of Identity and Access Management (IAM), where added layers of extensive verification procedures help in minimizing the risks of possible security breaches. Most organizations implement multifactor authentication as it is more efficient than the single-factor authentication method. 

Besides machine identities, which are quintessential in establishing secured communication between services and devices, multifactor authentication (MFA) plays a pivotal role in safeguarding applications and devices from the hands of malicious attackers. Efficient machine identity management (MIM) and MFA pave the way to achieve a Zero Trust security model, which promotes the verification of every device within the network infrastructure. 

Buyer’s Guide for Certificate Lifecycle Automation

Factors for Multiple Authentication

Multifactor authentication verifies users’ identity using any two or more of the following factors:  

  • Knowledge factor: Something only the user knows, like the PIN. 
  • Possession factor: Something that the user has, like an encrypted security key or time-based one-time password (TOTP).
  • Inherence factor: Something that is specific to the user, like the finger print or facial scan. 

Benefits of Multifactor Authentication in Securing Machine Identities 

According to the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM security, the cost of an average data breach increased from $3.86 million in 2020 to $4.24 million in 2021. The customers’ personal identifiable information were exposed in almost 80% of these breaches, and 20% of these breaches were caused due to stolen credentials, such as logins and passwords and cloud misconfigurations. 

Let’s look at some of the key benefits of MFA in verifying the identity of the users/customers and securing digital identities. 

  • Strong user authentication: Hacking-related activities are often caused due to stolen credentials and password. An organization can make it compulsory for both employees and users to verify their identity and credibility using multiple verification tactics like passwords and TOTP.

These verification layers validate the identity of the users and ensure that the users are who they claim to be. If, by any chance, a hacker is successful to get hold of the password, he has to go through multiple verification checks to confirm his identity. Therefore, organizations opt for MFA as the verification model supports innumerable security checks before authenticating a login attempt. 

  • Compliance with industry regulations: Multifactor authentication is crucial for adherence to industry regulations. In the financial sector, implementing MFA is mandatory for being compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) and Service Organization Control (SOC ) regulations to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive customer data like card details and pin numbers.

In healthcare, organizations need to be compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) regulations by using MFA to secure patient information and passwords for privacy and  enhanced data security.

  • Scalable for evolving workforce: Hybrid work models and transition to the cloud drive organizations to implement MFA strategies to manage and monitor complex access requests. With an adaptive multifactor authentication solution, you can evaluate the risk a user might bring in when he requests certain tools, applications, or information by looking at his details, like his device and location.

Adaptive MFA also enables dynamic policy changes and step-up authentication, which is fundamental in protecting critical data. For instance, users might be required to go through a second factor or third-factor identity authentication procedure before gaining access to highly sensitive information, like scanning a fingerprint or entering a code received on phone.

  • Compatible with single sign-on (SSO): MFA can be integrated with single sign-on, thus verifying users’ identity seamlessly and efficiently, without hampering productivity. Users no longer have to remember passwords or reuse passwords for the sake of remembering.

Using a secondary multifactor authentication, embedded with SSO, not only certifies user identity but also saves a lot of time. 

  • Effective MFA for the cloud: To boost cloud security in today’s digital organizations, Federated Identity Management (FIM) has a specialized role in establishing a safe connection between web-based applications and identity providers via Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and by exchanging secure public keys.

FIM ensures a trusted relationship between organizations and third parties, such as application partners and vendors, allowing them to share digital identities across multiple domains.

  • PKI Security: The recent Colonial Pipeline hack has highlighted the importance of MFA in the cybersecurity infrastructure. One of the most common forms of MFA deployed by many organizations is PKI. The foundation of PKI security, certificate-based identity authentication, is considered to efficient authentication strategy with a high level of assurance (LOA).

PKI enables robust certificate-based security, as well as identity services and management tools to maximize network efficiency and security. AppViewX CERT+ powered by an enterprise-grade automation platform can help you manage certificates and keys seamlessly, across hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments.

Do you want to manage your machine identities better?

Tags

  • Identity and Access Management
  • machine identity management
  • zero trust security

About the Author

Debarati Biswas

Senior Specialist- Product Marketing

A content creator and a lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity. She pens insightful resources to address the pain points of the readers and prospective buyers and help them make well-informed decisions.

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