Two-factor Authentication for macOS

Written by Ryan Squires on January 23, 2019

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Identity security issues are impacting organizations at a clip higher than ever before. As such, it is critical to protect every system and application possible. The real-world solution that many IT organizations turn to to protect systems and applications is multi-factor authentication (MFA, two-factor authentication, or 2FA). Resulting, IT admins are implementing 2FA wherever possible. One tool they’re using to do so is JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®. With Jumpcloud, IT organizations can mandate macOS 2FA and more.

Two-factor Authentication for Applications First, Systems Second

System level Multi Factor Authentication

Historically, IT organizations leveraged 2FA for applications, as it was much easier for vendors to provide this functionality. So, 2FA for systems has been elusive. When implementation was possible, this particular capability has traditionally been targeted at large enterprises with heavy-weight identity management implementations. As we see so often, large enterprises with the means to spend on technology often have the ability to leverage the best tools. But, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are shifting that paradigm and enabling those with smaller budgets to utilize critical security tools like 2FA. So, no matter the organization’s size, 2FA for Mac systems (and other OSes) represents an incredibly important part of securing an organization. Thankfully, JumpCloud is making 2FA attainable for all.

The reason that 2FA is so important at the endpoint level goes like this: systems are the conduit by which users access the network, their applications, and data. Making sure that the system is secure goes a long way to ensuring your company’s valuable data remains with the company and not in the hands of a bad actor. So, while there is a move to have less data stored on individual systems, there is also a move to make it easier to sign in to applications, networks, and servers from the endpoint. The result is that if the endpoint is compromised, no matter where that data is stored, there is a great deal at stake for the organization.

Two-factor Authentication for macOS in Practice

multi-factor authentication

One of the best ways to mitigate your organizational risk is to level up your defense and apply 2FA where possible. IT admins can ensure that at bootup, users are prompted to enter their password in conjunction with a 6-digit TOTP (time-based one-time password) pin generated by a smartphone app like Google Authenticator™ or Duo Mobile. That means that even if a user’s password has been hacked, the attacker would need to have the smartphone linked to the account(s) they’re trying to access. This extra step of security makes breaking into a macOS device exponentially more difficult.

When you couple MFA with other security initiatives like full disk encryption (FDE), screen saver lock, OS updates, and many more, an IT organization can lock down the conduits to their entire infrastructure. Further, with a tool like JumpCloud, IT admins enforce security initiatives remotely, with GPO-like Policies, and rest assured knowing their endpoints are protected. But, of course, MFA isn’t just for systems.

Enabling 2FA for IT Resources

FDE with JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service

In addition to two-factor authentication for macOS, JumpCloud’s cloud directory service is a platform-agnostic solution that can enable security features on more than just macOS systems. JumpCloud also provides MFA for Linux as well, and aside from systems, IT admins can apply 2FA to the user and admin consoles, as well as web applications. JumpCloud’s belief is that 2FA should be leveraged wherever possible. And while it is extremely important to enforce MFA on your macOS systems, with IT infrastructures shifting to the cloud, any attack surface possible should be shielded with 2FA.

Interested in Mac MFA With JumpCloud?

If you’re ready to boost your organization’s security with two-factor authentication for macOs and other IT resources, sign up for a free account today. JumpCloud’s free account is full-featured and risk-free, which means you get access to the entire product with no credit card required. Be sure to schedule a demo if you’d like to take a tour of the product. Additionally, you can find helpful implementation information in our Knowledge Base.

Ryan Squires

Ryan Squires is a content writer at JumpCloud, a company dedicated to connecting users to the IT resources they need securely and efficiently. He has a degree in Journalism and Media Communication from Colorado State University.

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