What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

2FA MFATwo-factor authentication (2FA) basically means that you need more than just your core username and password to authenticate and gain access to various IT resources. Rather, 2FA leverages your credentials in addition to a secure 2FA token, such as a numerical code sent to your smartphone or perhaps a physical security key for authentication purposes. By enabling 2FA, IT admins can dramatically increase security throughout their organization. Of course, the challenge is actually implementing 2FA in such a way that balances security with convenience.

Overview of Two-Factor Authentication

As IT security has become a major focus for modern organizations, IT admins are searching for the best ways to secure their networks. At the core of this challenge is identity and access management (IAM), which ensures that only the correct users can gain access to critical IT resources. Prior to the introduction of 2FA, the majority of IT organizations leveraged the core username and password to secure access to crucial resources such as systems and applications. However, as compromised user identities have become the primary attack vector in the modern era, IT admins have been forced to find another way to provide secure authentication and protect their organization from bad actors.

Two-factor authentication solutions emerged in response to the key challenge of secure authentication. At the highest level, 2FA products add an extra layer of security to the authentication process and can be enabled for a variety of IT resources that support 2FA. In essence, 2FA leverages something that you know, such as your core user password, and something that you have, such as your smartphone or physical security key. In doing so, the thought is that the authentication process is more secure because a bad actor would conceivably need to compromise your core user identity as well as gain access to your smartphone or security key.

How to Enable 2FA

Two-factor authentication solutions are typically used in conjunction with a core identity provider (IdP), which acts as the source of truth for authenticating user identities. Historically, the core IdP of choice has been the on-prem Microsoft® Active Directory® (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Vince Lujan. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/two-factor-authentication/

Vince Lujan

Vince is a documentation and blog writer at JumpCloud, the world’s first cloud-based directory service. Vince recently graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing from the University of New Mexico, and enjoys researching new innovations in cloud architecture and infrastructure.

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