Benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication

By Zach DeMeyer Posted January 18, 2019

Benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication

Identity security is one of the most significant challenges that IT organizations face. An identity compromise can ruin an organization, and it is the number one attack vector for hackers. Given the volatility of the identity management space, it’s hard to overstate the benefits of multi-factor authentication (MFA or 2FA).

Why MFA?

what are the benefits of MFA?

End users have too many passwords to remember and manage. After all, the average employee has around 191 different resource accounts active at one time. Best practices state that each one of those accounts should have its own unique and complex password. Meanwhile, IT organizations are constantly struggling to tightly control access to all IT resources. Shadow IT and difficulty with user management systems have presented challenges to identity security as a whole. The result is that organizations end up being at significant risk of a compromise due to poorly secured identities.

MFA is a critical tool for protecting organizations from identity theft. By implementing MFA organization-wide, the security of the traditional username and password login is supplemented by an additional measure. With MFA, a TOTP (time-based one-time password) token, generated from a smartphone or other device, is required for access. In effect, a user now needs two pieces of information to access their IT resource: something they know (a password) along with something they have (a unique token generated by a smartphone).

By requiring both pieces of information, IT organizations are dramatically reducing the chances of a breach. For end users and IT admins alike, the extra step is well worth the increase in security. In fact, many end users are now employing 2FA in their personal lives as well. In an organization or not, zero trust security is helping to guide a lot of decision making. Trust no one when it comes to sensitive data. Credentials can get stolen, misplaced, or hacked. It’s a good idea to try and protect them with an additional layer of security. 

Benefits of MFA

Foremost of the benefits of multi-factor authentication is the significant decrease in the chance of end user identities (and, subsequently, their IT resources) becoming compromised. By adding a personal, time-sensitive factor to the authentication process, would-be hackers are stopped in their tracks, even if they have a user’s password. This, of course, also has the added benefit of peace of mind for enterprises, knowing that their sensitive data is made safer by an additional security layer. MFA also adds a sense of mindfulness to authentication; by taking the time to insert their TOTP token, users are reminded of the importance of tight identity security. Another considerable purpose of MFA is leveraging it for achieving regulatory compliance with statutes such as PCI.

Ultimately, security-conscious IT organizations should implement MFA wherever possible, but especially on mission-critical applications such as G Suite™ and Office 365™. This ideally would happen on systems too, including macOS® and Linux® systems, to enable them to be more secure as well.

MFA from JumpCloud®

Now, armed with an idea of the various benefits of MFA, what tool should you use to enforce it across your organization? A great choice for this task is JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. With JumpCloud, admins can set up multi-factor authentication across their entire organization, meaning end users can use their JumpCloud accounts as a more secure gateway to all of their resources through True Single Sign-On™. Using the LDAP, RADIUS, and SAML protocols, JumpCloud connects users to their applications, networks, file servers, and more through one centralized set of credentials. Additionally, since JumpCloud integrates directly with G Suite and O365, those accounts (as well as Mac® and Linux systems) can be protected by MFA, allowing JumpCloud customers to reap the benefits of multi-factor authentication.

Learn more about MFA with JumpCloud by contacting us or checking out our YouTube channel. To explore Directory-as-a-Service MFA yourself, simply sign up for JumpCloud, absolutely free. Directory-as-a-Service is available directly at your fingertips, with ten users included, for free forever, to get you started.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, making music, and soccer.

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