Multi-factor Authentication

October 23, 2014

You log into your computer with a user name and a password.  Both of those are in your head; they are things you know.  That is different from getting cash from a cash machine, where you use your PIN, something in your head, WITH your card, something you HAVE.  Two-factor authentication uses two different types of verification, such as at a cash machine.  The possibilities are:

  • Something you know (such as a password)
  • Something you have (such as a card, cell phone or fob)
  • Something you are (a fingerprint or facial recognition)

Increasingly businesses are using a combination of two of the above options.  This approach significantly increases security.  The most commonly used method involves using a mobile phone or other physical device to generate a one-time use code that changes every minute or so, in addition to a password.  When an employee logs in, they enter their username and password, as usual.  They are then prompted for the current code on their phone.  That seemingly simple change makes attackers’ jobs very difficult.  No longer is a password sufficient to gain access to corporate resources.

In the past, these two-factor authentication systems have been prohibitively expensive for small businesses but they have now become very cost effective.  As hackers become more sophisticated we need to counter their cleverness.

Want to look at how multi-factor authentication can be setup to strengthen the security on your network?  Give Emerson Technologies a call.  We will be happy to explore economical possibilities with you!

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