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What is the difference between multi-factor and two-factor authentication?

Single-factor authentication using passwords is no longer the most secure way to protect your information. More secure options being used by IT security teams include multi-factor authentication (MFA) and two-factor authentication (2FA).

CMIT Solutions, your number resource for IT support in Pittsburgh, has put together valuable information on MFA and 2FA to help you better understand what they are and how they work to protect your company’s data.

Login AuthenticationWhat is Multi-Factor Authentication?

MFA is defined as a security control that requires users to verify their identities through multiple pieces of evidence before they can gain access to an application or device. The difference between MFA and 2A is that 2A will utilize only two of the following authentication factors, while MFA will use two or more authentication factors.

Authentication Factors

MFA requires you to verify your identity before you can access items such as files or email. The authentication factors that are commonly put in place include:

Possession– The user supplies information such as a one-time password.

Inherence– The user provides a characteristic unique to them, such a fingerprint or voice recognition.

Knowledge– The user provides information only they would have, such as challenge question answers or a password.

MFA and 2A: Which is More Secure?

In most cases, requiring three authentication factors versus two is more secure. As you may already know, passwords are easily compromised, so by requiring other authentication factors such as a fingerprint or an answer to a challenge question, the hacker has less of a chance of breaching your security.

Expert Security Solutions for Your Company

At CMIT Solutions, we provide a wide range of cybersecurity services to Pittsburgh businesses. We understand that it is not practical for you to keep watch over your systems, which is where we come in. By providing multiple layers of cybersecurity protection as well as team security training and spot inspections, CMIT Solutions can help you effectively protect your company’s data. Contact us today to learn more.


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