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Multiple Authentication Methods – Understanding Towards Secure System

By on 10/06/2015

In the modern business world, the need for disseminating information to varying levels of employment grows stronger every day. Individuals who fulfill special roles require sensitive information throughout the workday.

Having a manager or senior official constantly provide verification and access bogs the system downs and reeks of inefficiency. That is where an authentication system steps in. With such a construct, you can segment and authorize various users to have access to resources. However, none of these systems are perfect.1

The Shortcomings of Single-Factor Authentication

While a single-factor system may be acceptable in low risk situations, having only one token of verification is simply not a strong way to protect your vital resources. Theft is always an issue with physical tokens. Outside of common thievery, malicious entities may be able to force their way into your system by attacking your security at this sole line of difference.

Having little differentiation in the authentication system is a prime weakness that could leave your delicate files and data in a vulnerable state.  A layered approach to verification helps negate these attacks by taking the focus off of the single token.

The Strength of Two-Factor Authentication

In a two factor authentication system, your employees will be required to use two tokens, or forms of identification, to access private storage or networks. Generally, having one physical token that is kept with the person, as well a remembered password or personal identification number (PIN), creates a strong setup.

For this type of system to fail, an outside individual would need to gain access to the physical representation, as well as guess or engineer the second, nonphysical form of verification. Without inside knowledge and help, a security breach is highly unlikely, but not impossible.

Common Tokens

Regardless of the layers of authentication, certain tokens stick out as common selections. Most systems incorporate a password or PIN of some sort. Another common nonphysical alternate is the remembered pattern. From here physical variations include keys, magnetized cards, and flash drives.

Mobile phones and tablets can also be incorporated into a program by allowing downloaded apps to generate cryptographic outputs. More advanced systems scan biometrics, such as finger prints and retinas. For short term use, many organizations incorporate limited duration passwords or other single use virtual tokens.

The Need for Security

As the Internet continues to become the main thoroughfare for business communications and transactions, enhanced security measures are a must. In a perfect world, an organization could assume that their private data would be safe and secure on a locally operated server or terminal.

However, the world is far from perfect and other individuals wish to steal and sabotage these businesses for reasons that range from personal gain to the simple satisfaction of sowing chaos.

Attacks can come from myriad sources. Man-in-the-middle attacks focus on intercepting sensitive transmissions and using that information to gain access to secured data. SQL injections look for instability within an organization’s web page.

From there, a malicious individual can expose these weaknesses and gain access through the framework of the public site. Other attacks simply focus on physical theft and access within the organization. Regardless of the method, all can be serious issues when dealing with financial data and other information that is not meant for the public

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