Set Up MFA for Remote Mac and Windows Laptops

Written by Kayla Coco-Stotts on May 20, 2020

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Security is a top priority for IT in many organizations these days. With global events forcing the majority of people to work from home, admins are determining how to best secure their remote workforce quickly. 

Perhaps the greatest way IT teams can secure their endpoints is through multi-factor authentication (MFA). Implementing MFA wherever possible, particularly macOS MFA and Windows MFA on laptops and workstations, enables a secure remote environment. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about the value MFA adds to organizations looking to empower remote users, and how to set up MFA for remote Mac and Windows laptops.

Why Is MFA Essential?

Before we dive into the logistics of setting up MFA for macOS and Windows machines, it’s important to take a step back and understand why system-level MFA is so critical.

When remote, systems act as a gateway to an organization’s IT resources, so keeping that gateway secure ensures that bad actors don’t infiltrate organizations while the world adjusts to this new way of working. By adding system-level MFA, IT admins can effectively safeguard users’ laptops and workstations while remote.

MFA, also known as two-factor authentication (2FA), increases the security across your fleet of laptops by requiring that a user provides an additional factor at login beyond their credentials. There are different types of MFA, but time-based one-time password (TOTP) MFA is regarded as one of the most secure because it generates codes more often than other forms of MFA. 

TOTP MFA requires end users to provide something they know (their password) with something they have (a TOTP token generated by their mobile device) to be granted access to a resource. Therefore, even if a bad actor obtains a user’s credentials, they’ll have a significantly harder time leveraging an attack. 

Enabling MFA Easily

With many environments adjusting to remote settings, it’s vital that organizations protect their systems. Instantiating MFA manually on every system is extensive work for internal IT. However, there does exist a solution that allows organizations to seamlessly enable MFA for their systems.

Setting up MFA for remote Mac and Windows laptops is simple with JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service. As part of JumpCloud’s core directory service, built-in MFA ensures that the various workstations and laptops in your remote environment are uniformly controlled.

JumpCloud’s MFA requires that users prove their identities at login before gaining access to their Windows and macOS machines. Because JumpCloud partners with platforms like Cisco Duo and Yubikey, admins can protect a wide variety of resources, hassle free. IT teams can also use JumpCloud’s built-in MFA for their applications, JumpCloud user portal access, and RADIUS VPNs — which ultimately helps secure their entire infrastructure while remote. 

Regardless of location, system management with JumpCloud enables admins to maintain their fleets without time-intensive implementation and maintenance. With a complete set of security and management tools, you can enable system-level MFA to provide the appropriate user access and remain under compliance. 

In addition, Directory-as-a-Service applies GPO-like Policies and system-based password management to enhance your security posture. Using a modern approach to directory services ensures that your team’s transition to remote work is as frictionless and secure as possible. 

Questions? Just Ask

Many organizations are implementing a work from home model for the first time. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to one of our representatives.

Try JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service for yourself. You can register up to 10 users for free, forever.

Kayla Coco-Stotts

Kayla is a content writer at JumpCloud with a B.A. in Print Journalism from the University of Kentucky. She hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and loves to eat good food and hike Boulder's beautiful trails when she is not writing.

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