What is Multi-factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is a risk management and security best practice that adds one or more layers of protection to simple username and password logins or transactions. Multi-factor authentication verifies a user’s identity by combining two or more of the following independent credentials:

  • Something the user knows (e.g.: password, PIN, passphrase)
  • Something the user possesses (e.g.: email account, smartphone, code-generating device)
  • Something inherent to the user (e.g.: fingerprint, iris scan, voice recognition)

Together, these three examples represent the three most common authentication factors: 

  1. knowledge
  2. possession
  3. inherence


Multi-Factor Authentication for IBM i

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Why is Multi-Factor Authentication important?

By requiring multiple forms of authentication, MFA makes it much more difficult for an unauthorized entity to gain access to a target system and its data. A malicious actor able to compromise one authentication factor will still not have the ability to successfully penetrate the target.

As the processing power of computers continues to grow, password databases and single-factor authentication are becoming increasingly obsolete as a form of security. While a password database doesn’t stand any chance against a brute force attack, each additional authentication factor adds another hardened layer of protection. 

Recent regulations such as the State of New York Department of Financial Service’s Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NYCRR 500) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 3.2 require the use of MFA for certain types of access to systems. As a result, the use of multi-factor authentication for logging into a website or application is on the rise.

As a security and risk management tool, MFA protects the assets of a business’s clients from not only unauthorized access but also the business from reputational risks arising from carelessness or lacking security standards. 

Strengthen the logon security for IBM i systems in your organization today with Assure Multi-Factor Authentication, a feature of Assure Security from Precisely.


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