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Strengthening Network Access Security with Multi-Factor Authentication

As technology continues to develop, more and more applications become not just convenient, but necessary. It was less than a decade ago that it was inconceivable we would 'need' to carry a consumer device to access the internet in our pockets. Today, it is essential. The same is true with the applications we use for business, commerce and government. They need to be accessible in our pockets 24/7.

Along with this convenience comes the hassles of securely gaining access to these applications, and to do so without putting the security of important organizational data at risk.

What is this risk? With so many users being 1) mobile, 2) using mobile devices that may or may not be owned by corporate IT, and 3) using a variety of applications hosted in different on-prem and cloud locations, ensuring that only authenticated users gain access to applications is paramount. It is complicated situation and relying on just a username and password is no longer enough. 

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is quickly being the standard to provide an extra level of authentication and safety based on something you have, something you are, and even environmental factors (time of day, geolocation, etc.) The general challenge from an IT implementation perspective is that adding MFA requires development, testing and on-going maintenance to:

  • Additional setup (user/device integration, delivery, training)
  • API integration and development work for each application
  • In some cases, support for additional hardware such as key fobs

And this results is delayed productivity and increased cost.

The great news is that with Akamai Enterprise Application Access (EAA), MFA can be applied to any application, or a group of applications, or users with a single click. Akamai has made it easy to enable, letting you avoid months of development and testing.

The end user experience is seamless. With MFA enabled, when a user signs into their EAA portal, they will be prompted for their user name and password (the first factor--what they know), as well as for an authentication code from their MFA device - typically their cellphone (the second factor--what they have). Taken together, these multiple factors provide increased security for your application access.

EAA and its integrated MFA feature set is an ideal solution for enterprises looking to solve the complexities are behind-the-firewall application access in the era of the cloud and mobility. But what about secure access for SaaS applications? I'll cover that in my next blog, but for more information on EAA and MFA, please visit our product pages on Akamai.com.