Beyond password security: How an MSP can help with user authentication

Beyond password security: How an MSP can help with user authentication

Passwords alone are no longer enough to safeguard business data. Hackers are constantly improving their tactics, and a single compromised password can leave an entire network vulnerable. But while most business leaders understand the importance of strong authentication, owners of resource-strapped small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often find implementing and maintaining effective solutions overwhelming, adding to their already full plates.

Thankfully, with the help of a managed IT services provider (MSP), businesses can fortify their authentication processes and stay protected from cyberthreats.

Crucial ways MSPs strengthen the authentication process

Here are some solutions MSPs can implement to help businesses secure their user authentication processes effectively.

Multifactor authentication (MFA)

MSPs can enable MFA, which grants users access only if they are able to provide at least two verification factors. These factors typically fall into three categories: what a user knows (a password or PIN), what a user has (a smartphone with an authentication app or a hardware token), and what a user is (a fingerprint or voice pattern).

The benefits of MFA include:

  • Increased security:Even if a hacker steals a password, they would still be blocked without the additional verification factor.
  • Regulatory compliance: Many industries require MFA to comply with regulations such as PIPEDA, GDPR, and PCI DSS.
  • User trust: Users feel more confident knowing that their accounts are protected and less susceptible to unauthorized access, ultimately strengthening their trust in the business.

Single sign-on (SSO)

In addition to MFA, MSPs can streamline user experience with SSO solutions. SSO allows users to access a variety of applications with just one set of credentials, so they no longer need to remember numerous passwords for different platforms. This reduces the likelihood of a breach that stems from repeated or weak passwords.

By implementing SSO, your business can enjoy several benefits:

  • Simplified user experience: Users can use the same credentials to access all necessary applications.
  • Reduced IT workload: Fewer password reset requests mean IT departments can focus on more critical tasks.
  • Enhanced security: A centralized authentication process lessens the number of possible entry points for cybercriminals.

Biometric authentication

Biometric authentication utilizes unique biological characteristics (e.g., retinas, fingerprints, and facial features) to verify a user's identity. MSPs can help businesses integrate biometric authentication systems, adding a layer of protection that is characterized by:

  • High accuracy: Biometrics are difficult to replicate, providing a high level of security.
  • User convenience: Users can quickly verify their identity without the need to remember a multitude of complex passwords.
  • Fraud prevention features: Biometric systems can detect and prevent identity fraud by using advanced techniques such as blinking detection, which can weed out attempts to bypass the system with static images.

Read also: What going passwordless means for your SMB

Behavioral analytics

MSPs can leverage behavioral analytics to enhance user authentication. This technology monitors and analyzes user behavior patterns, such as login times, mouse movements, and typing speed, to detect anomalies that could indicate a security threat.

Behavioral analytics offer a unique set of security features, including:

  • Continuous verification: Unlike traditional methods that only verify at login, behavioral analytics monitor user activity throughout a session. This ongoing assessment ensures continued security even if a hacker gains initial access.
  • Anomaly detection: Deviations from normal patterns, such as logging in from an unknown location or accessing unauthorized files, can trigger additional verification steps or alerts.
  • Real-time threat response: Through continuous monitoring, suspicious activity can be flagged instantly, enabling swift action to prevent unauthorized access or data theft.

Zero trust architecture

Helping businesses adopt a zero trust architecture is another way MSPs can strengthen user authentication. With zero trust, users and devices are not trusted by default, even if these are within the network perimeter.