Navigating the Path to Enhanced Authentication

December 19, 2022


On the surface, authentication sounds simple – your goal as a security executive is to ensure that a user/machine is who/what they say they are.  But the reality is that there are many different options to accomplish this – including myriad systems and methodologies – which is why 70% of Security/IT Professionals say they are overwhelmed by the complexity of their authentication systems according to a recent survey.

Equally important there are numerous ways to circumvent the protective measures put in place by an organization if you’re a bad actor.  With 24 billion combinations of usernames and passwords available on the dark web, for instance, it’s easy to see why passwords are becoming passe.  And with almost 85% of organizations experiencing a cyberattack in the last year according to IDSA, it’s easy to see why organizations are turning to multi-factor authentication (MFA) as a next-logical step in their defense.

Not All MFA is the Same

But buyer beware, not all MFA is the same.  Some MFA options leave you susceptible to phishing attacks, which now have 50% of organizations prioritizing this threat vector in 2023.  Others can leave you vulnerable to a prompt-bombing attack, in which a person will send a flurry of MFA requests hoping the target finally accepts one to make the noise stop.

If you turn the screws too tightly, and make MFA too complex and expect a user to remember too many passwords, productivity can go down significantly and/or a user will look for ways to bypass the protective measures.  Two of five organizations are now focused on lowering end-user friction as part of their authentication strategy, and almost 9 in 10 told us in a recent survey that they are planning to implement a passwordless strategy in the next 12 months (or have already done so).

And if you authenticate in silos – leveraging multiple disconnected MFA approaches across several IAM ecosystems, use cases, and operating systems, you can create gaps and inconsistencies that can be exploited for an attack.  Almost 1 in 2 of security executives say that multiple, disjointed authentication silos are a top challenge for improving their cybersecurity practices.

Deciding the Right Path Forward

Intellectually you know MFA is an important step in protecting your organization.  If you need further evidence, the January 2022 memorandum from the U.S. White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) used the term MFA 18 times, and it refers to the concept of phishing resistance 23 times, all in a total 29 pages.

But with so much complexity underpinning your authentication program, and so many MFA options to choose from, how do you decide what steps to take next?

Axiad has developed a simple-yet-powerful infographic to help you understand the various options, weigh the pros and cons, and help you evaluate your risk tolerance.  It will provide multiple decision points to consider and outline the benefits so you can make an informed decision.

Download infographic here.

With so much on the line, so much noise in the market, and so many options to consider, we believe this step-by-step guide will help you visualize – and importantly even sell your vision to other decision makers in the organization – on how you will prioritize your MFA investments in the new year.

About the author
Joe Garber
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