Looking for a multi-factor authentication solution but can’t decide which is best for your business? We’ve compiled the best MFA providers to help you choose.
Which is the best multi-factor authentication? There are hundreds of solutions on the market, but few that implement MFA with advanced biometrics, passwordless security and identity proofing compliant with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines.
Some MFA providers include:
- CISCO Duo Security
- SecureAuth Identity Platform
What Does a Multi-Factor Authentication Provider Do for You?
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is a cornerstone of modern identity verification efforts. MFA gives you the ability to require multiple trusted sources to verify identity. Typically, most MFA systems require two or more of the following forms of verification:
- Something You Know: This category includes usernames, passwords, secrets (i.e. your previous address), and/or PINs.
- Something You Have: This category assumes the ownership of a secure account or device. For example, the system can send a secure link or one-time PIN to your email or to your phone via SMS. Additionally, this category can also include physical media like USB drives with authentication tokens installed.
- Something You Are : This category includes all forms of biometrics. Fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition, and voice recognition all fall under what you “are.”
In an MFA scheme, the user provides at least two verification forms with credentials addressing a different category. For example, an account might ask for a password (what you know) and a one-time code sent to your phone (something you have).
Modern MFA will often expand these categories or implement more comprehensive features, including the following:
- Advanced Biometrics: Whereas some traditional MFA solutions will use biometrics like fingerprints or facial scans, more advanced systems will use practices like liveness tests to ensure that biometrics aren’t spoofed algorithmically.
- Identity Proofing: Tools like identity proofing through scanned documents or visual verification by a third-party are critical to more advanced security configurations. NIST SP 800-63-3 identifies several practices as part of its Identity Assurance Level (IAL) and Authentication Assurance Level (AAL) standards. Different levels call for different approaches. For example, IAL Level 2 might require documentation or credential authentication, while IAL Level 3 might require physical proofing through a video call or other means.
When it comes to using MFA properly, you are more likely than not to leverage it through a service provider offering Identity and Access Management (IAM) or Identity Management (IdM) services.
In modern enterprise authentication technology, you will rarely find a provider that doesn’t offer some form of MFA, even if it is limited to Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Because of this fact, most modern IAM or IdM providers will usually include streamlined ways of incorporating MFA features into your secure authentication methods.
What Should I Look for in an MFA Provider?
Even if your authentication provider includes MFA solutions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re all set when it comes to functionality. MFA providers should meet the needs and demands of your business and industry above and beyond simple MFA implementation.
Some of the features you should consider when looking for an MFA solution provider include the following:
- Expansive Functionality: Depending on your needs, you’ll most likely want a provider that includes more than the bare minimum of MFA solutions. For example, having a partner allows you to check username/password combinations while leveraging SMS for additional security is great. However, it might be the case that you want to incorporate biometrics down the line to support more mobile device users. As such, your provider must be able to handle multiple forms of identification across the three categories discussed above.
- Security: IAM and IdM are forms of security that also demand their internal security to protect sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Your provider should include solid cybersecurity measures against breaches, data theft, and insider threats to protect your users’ digital identities.
- Compliance: Closely related to security, compliance is a major concern for small to midsize businesses and enterprise businesses working in regulated industries like healthcare, defense, or manufacturing. This is multi-faceted, as your MFA solution must help you adhere to compliance requirements while also meeting the minimum compliance requirements on their end.
- Passwordless Identification: Passwords are still the most common forms of authentication, as old as the concept of digital identity itself. However, it can also prove to be the most vulnerable to theft, through system breaches, social engineering, or phishing attacks. Modern authentication using MFA techniques can effectively eliminate the need for users to provide passwords, streamlining access and strengthening security.
- Risk-Based Security: Some providers will include systems to help you determine what kinds of authentication to implement based on the potential security risks.
- Streamlined User Experience: While it’s not the most intuitive way to think about authentication, user experience is critical to of IAM or IdM effectiveness. Poor experience means that users will be less likely to properly leverage the authentication factors in place, which means that you end up with terrible passwords, reused passwords, or improperly configured settings across multiple devices.
Popular MFA Providers in 2022
CISCO Duo Security
Provided by well-regarded Cisco, this MFA solution boasts using a zero-trust philosophy that doesn’t interfere with usability. This approach includes using mobile devices, One-Time Passwords, passwordless login, and biometric authentication.
The Okta suite of MFA tools includes cloud-based security to support scaling enterprises. This approach includes the ability for clients to leverage Okta ThreatInsight, an intelligent mitigation tool to support blocking suspicious IP addresses or user behaviors. Okta also boasts a range of potential MFA solutions that users can utilize or combine, including password authentication, WebAuthn, and automated verification through Push mechanisms.
The OneLogin Protect solution integrates MFA into mobile devices, much like Google or Microsoft authentication apps, but avoids OTPs by offering one-touch MFA. OneLogin also integrates its services into popular biometrics like Touch ID (Macs) and Hellow World (Windows).
Ping MFA, part of the PingIdentity suite of services, provides several solid features to support robust multi-factor authentication. These features include risk-based authentication for adaptive security, facial recognition, integration with mobile devices, and administrator dashboards to provide critical insights into service usage.
SecureAuth Identity Platform
Known as Arculix, the SecureAuth MFA solution is described as an “intelligent MFA” service or layered MFA. Machine learning and analytics power an MFA approach that requires something you know (knowledge), something you have (ownership), something you are (inherence), and something you do (behavior).
Modern Authentication for Now and Tomorrow with 1Kosmos BlockID
Modern authentication often rests on the assumption of “just enough.” We rely too much on simply getting by, and hackers take advantage of that fact to exploit systems we previously thought were stronger. Even modern biometrics are facing unprecedented challenges. It’s also important to note that many businesses are still not deploying MFA with biometrics in 2021.
The way forward for authentication is to combine as many layers of identity verification and security as possible with a clear vision of usability across platforms and devices. BlockID does just that by emphasizing secure blockchain ID management with compliant identity proofing measures and advanced biometrics—all without sacrificing user experience.
We accomplish this goal with the following critical features:
- Identity Proofing: BlockID includes Identity Assurance Level 2 (NIST 800-63A IAL2), detects fraudulent or duplicate identities, and establishes or reestablishes credential verification.
- Identity-Based Authentication Orchestration: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through identity credential triangulation and validation.
- Integration with Secure MFA: BlockID readily integrates with a standard-based API to operating systems, applications, and MFA infrastructure at AAL2. BlockID is also FIDO2 certified, protecting against attacks that attempt to circumvent multi-factor authentication.
- Cloud-Native Architecture: Flexible and scalable cloud architecture makes it simple to build applications using our standard API, including private blockchains.
- Privacy by Design: 1Kosmos protects personally identifiable information (PII) in a private blockchain and encrypts digital identities in secure enclaves only accessible through advanced biometric verification.
If you want to learn more about how 1Kosmos can upgrade your legacy identity architecture with modern IdM solutions, read our whitepaper on 2FA and MFA Capabilities. Also, make sure that you sign up for the 1Kosmos newsletter to stay informed on company events, updates, and product releases.