As cybersecurity threats grow more sophisticated implementing strong security protocols is becoming increasingly important for businesses. Not only that, certain security measures may be required by state or Federal regulations or service providers.
At HealPay, we understand the importance of securing your financial information and transactions. As part of our robust security measures, we’ve integrated Multi-Factor into our systems for consumers and businesses. By employing this additional layer of security, we aim to provide a safer environment for you, our valued customers.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-Factor Authentication, or MFA is a security system that uses multiple methods to verify a user’s identity for login. The goal is to provide an additional layer of security by requiring multiple factors to authenticate the user’s identity. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access even if one factor is compromised.
MFA combines different types of information or credentials—authentication factors—verify an individual’s identity. Authentication factors can fall into one of these categories:
- Knowledge: something a user knows, like a password, PIN, answer to a security question, or answer to a dynamic question
- Possession: something a user has, like a smart card, token, or a smartphone
- Inherent or biometrics: something they are, like a fingerprint or retina
- Place: where the user is located can include GPS coordinates, network parameters, and metadata
- Time: applies to a piece of information that expires within a certain time-frame, like one-time password
Other verification methods may include:
- Social login allows a user to give permission for their social media credentials to be used for verification whenever they’re logged in
- Risk-based authentication can be combined with MFA to increase security checks based on the user’s location or device.
- Push-based authentication sends the user an authentication factor to via text message, push notification, or email.
How Does Multi-Factor Authentication Work?
While the specific functions and options for MFA ca be different depending on the system or application. Some applications allow users to set trusted devices, remember certain devices for future logins, or provide backup codes for situations when their primary factors are unavailable.
To set up MFA, the user the feature and selects the desired authentication factors. This could be entering a mobile phone number, setting up a security question, registering a biometric trait, or linking a physical device.
During setup, the user may also be provided with a backup authentication method they can use if their primary method fails.
The login process still starts with entering a username and password, or logging in with single sign-on. This is the first factor of authentication, something the user knows.
MFA prompt & entry
After entering initial credentials, the system checks whether MFA is enabled for the account and then prompts the user to provide the additional authentication factors selected during setup. For instance, if the user choose to receive an SMS or push notification, they will need to retrieve the code from their device and enter it on the login screen.
The second authentication factor should be something extremely difficult to steal, like a one-time from an authentication app or a biometric factor. This way, if the user’s login id and password are compromised, a hacker wouldn’t be able to access their account.
If the authentication factor is verified, the system grants access to the account and the user is logged in. They can then proceed to use the application or platform as usual. Otherwise, the system will prompt the user to try again or select a backup method.
Why Businesses Should Use MFA
MFA is becoming a standard security feature as businesses prioritize security and industry regulations mandate increased security to protect sensitive consumer information. Using MFA provides several benefits for businesses.
- Stronger Security: Requiring additional factors such as a unique code, biometric verification, or a physical token reduces the risk of unauthorized access to systems, applications, and data.
- Stronger Authentication: Passwords can be easily compromised through phishing, keyloggers, and data breaches. With stronger authentication, it’s much more difficult for attackers to impersonate legitimate users.
- Increased compliance: Many industries and regulatory standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or FTC Safeguards Rule, mandate the use of MFA to protect sensitive customer information.
- Improved customer trust: Implementing MFA demonstrates a commitment to security and privacy, enhancing trust in your business. Customers, partners, and employees feel more confident knowing that their accounts and sensitive information are protected by additional layers of security.
- Scalability and flexibility: MFA solutions can be tailored to fit the specific needs and infrastructure of your business. You can opt for hardware applications, SMS codes, or biometric verification depending on which is more suitable for your business.
Using multiple methods of authentication increases the security of organizations by making it more difficult for hackers and other malicious factors to gain unauthorized access to their data and systems.
With the rise of remote work and the use of personal devices, adding MFA ensures that only authorized individuals can access corporate resources from different locations and devices.
Compared to the potential financial and reputational damage caused by a security breach, the implementation and maintenance of MFA systems are relatively cost-effective. Overall, the benefits of MFA often outweigh the expenses associated with its deployment.