Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an electronic authentication process that provides extra layers of security to an application or service against various cyber attacks. Also referred to as 2-factor authentication (2FA), MFA requires a minimum of two pieces of authentication to log in to an application either through verification code, biometrics, or browser notifications. 

Why do businesses use MFA? 

MFA protects businesses of all sizes from the most common types of cyber attacks: phishing, credential stuffing, keyloggers, and more. MFA plays a crucial role in all business data including sensitive data, login credentials of all applications, files, and organization’s credit/debit card details, etc., secure from hackers.

  • MFA provides multiple layers of security for businesses and their employees and consumers.
  • MFA protects business applications, networks, servers and systems against the most common and more complex cyber attacks.
  • MFA works with existing Single Sign-on solutions to facilitate access to all business applications.
  • MFA eliminates the risk of poor password behavior such as password reuse.

Why do remote workers need MFA? 

MFA also protects the personal devices of those who work remotely from cyber attacks, as well as ensuring those devices don’t unknowingly play a role in a security breach. Remote workers are often targets of hackers. When a hacker attempts to access any remote worker’s system, the user gets an MFA notification that allows them to act quickly by informing the company administrator of the hack attempt, or by changing the password.   

How does MFA work?

When users try to log into their accounts, MFA verifies the user’s identity by using other available factors than username and password. MFA works using a combination the following principles: 

  • Knowledge: Factor that requires the user to know something no one else would—typically a password or PIN.
  • Possession: Factor that using something you have in your possession, such as a mobile phone, smart card, key fob, or similar device.
  • Inherence: Factor that’s based on who you are based on verified biometrics.
  • Location-Based: Factor identifies specific devices in particular locations.
  • Risk-Based: RBA applies stringent measures to the authentication process.

Top features to look for in MFA solutions 

Multiple options are available that meet the needs of small and medium businesses, as well as global enterprises. However, reputable options should all include the following core features:

  • Multiple authentication methods: Multiple authentication methods provide users the flexibility to choose verification methods from many.
  • Cloud-based MFA: Cloud-based MFA reduces set up cost and saves time.
  • Hard and soft tokens: Gives users the option to select hard tokens such as smart cards or key fob to allow access, and soft tokens (an application) to generate one-time passwords (OTP)
  • Easy integrations: The solution should easily and securely integrate with applications, networks, and accounts.
  • Customization: Policies can be established to allow different types of MFA based on device type, location, access levels, and more.

Compare top MFA solutions; read eSecurity Planet’s Best LastPass Alternatives.

Siji Roy
Siji Roy specializes in technology, finance, and content marketing. She helps organizations to communicate with their target audience. She received her Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism from the University of Calicut, India. She is fortunate to be married to a lovely person and blessed with three naughty boys.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1559 Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

List of Windows Operating System Versions & History [In Order]

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Generations of Computers (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...


Glassdoor is an online job search and review platform for people seeking new...


GitLab is a DevOps platform where software development and IT operations teams collaborate...


Udemy is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform offering a range of...