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More individuals are turning towards mobile banking and e-wallets for their transactions. While this opens up plenty of opportunities for banks and financial institutions to innovate, it does bring risk with it. The continuous rise of cybercrime attacks puts your customers’ credentials (and money) at risk. With this in mind, having tighter authentication security is an easy to incorporate security layer many businesses should consider investing in for their organization’s benefit.

For more information about identity management solutions and multi-factor authentication (MFA) processes, take a look at the infographic below for your guidance.

Multi-Factor Authentication: The Ultimate Guide

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds a layer to your cybersecurity strategy by requiring you to validate your identity with multiple verification processes. This includes answering security questions and presenting proof of identity, among others.

Why is Multi-Factor Authentication Important?

Enabling this security measure makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to fraudulently log into your systems and access data. As a result, you are less likely to be a victim of theft or other types of fraud.

Verification Factors

Knowledge (what you know)

This verification type is the most common and typically requires the personal knowledge of the user. Passwords are a common type of this factor.

Possession (what you have)

This requires a key from the user to unlock their accounts. It can be a physical security token or one-time password that can only be used for a specific login session. Your cell phone is often treated as a verification factor, for example, as few of us are ever without them.

Inherence (what you are)

This requires users to confirm their identity through biometric methods like fingerprint, voice, face, or iris scans. In some cases, keystroke dynamics and behavioral biometrics may also be used.

Multi-Factor Authentication Methods

One-time password (OTP)

OTPs are temporary verification codes that remain active only for a short time. After a specific time passes, a new code will be required if the previous one was not verified.

Short Message Service (SMS)

You can receive authentication passwords on your phone through SMS text message, without subscribing to or installing an additional app or service. This can be used to authenticate a registered phone as well.


A unique link or code is sent to your registered email address. Using this authentication method requires a verified email account.


Smartcards can act as physical keys that authenticate access. They can also be used to authorize transactions and other similar activities.


This software can be embedded into mobile apps and utilizes cryptographic methods to authenticate a device. With this option, switching between other platforms becomes unnecessary.


These apps use time-based algorithms to verify and authenticate users. They can be connected to several websites or services to create more secure access.


This is one type of passwordless authentication. It can be in the form of a USB drive or NFC device that can be plugged into a system to authenticate a user.

Voice Verification

This method analyzes distinctive vocal characteristics to authenticate a user. It can also scan the movement and shape of the mouth during speech.

OATH software tokens

This is a free, open-source authentication method that implements the RFC 4226 HOTP algorithm. Multiple tokens can be configured as time- or event-based.

Benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication

Tighter security

MFA provides better security than passwords alone. The more factors you use, the greater your cybersecurity.

Better protection against credential theft

It ensures that password theft is not enough to access your data on another device.

Compatible with single sign-on (SSO)

It can eliminate the need to make multiple passwords or passphrases for different applications. 

Easy implementation

Multi-factor authentication is non-invasive, low friction, and can be used to augment nearly any business software or system.

Better security from remote locations

MFA can be used to set alerts or automated triggers that block users and report potential threats when suspicious activity is detected from another location. It also enables better identity assurance for workers that are entirely remote.

A reliable cybersecurity solution

Stricter security measures make it difficult for hackers to gain fraudulent access to your accounts.

Assures your identity

MFA protects your data from identity theft by adding another layer of protection. Using a solution such as the Q5id Proven Identity app verifies identity and guards it using biometric technology.

Regulatory compliance

Compliance with data protection laws gives you more peace of mind that your system is well secured. Securing data guards it against breaches or hacks, protecting your business from fines, and keeping your users’ identities safe.


The added layer of security can simplify secured login processes from your verified devices.

Challenges with Multi-Factor Authentication

Adoption can be low and slow

Different applications require different implementations of multi-factor authentication, which can slow down the process of how people adapt to the system.

Can be hard to develop and implement

Development can be tricky depending on the kind of system it would be implemented on or what technology is needed to support the MFA tool.

Can be difficult to support

It can be challenging to support multiple types of MFA or multiple identity management systems.

Access codes can be stolen

Advanced phishing scams and similar hacking attempts can still bypass lesser security measures.


Hackers can steal or swap your phone’s SIM card to gain OTPs and access your accounts. (Also known as SIM-swapping)

Human error

Security management can make mistakes when authorizing access to multiple accounts at once.

Poor admin configuration

Hackers can access other accounts through backdoors and unsecured networks when admin-level access is not properly configured.

Multi-Factor Authentication Best Practices

Full implementation in all areas

Secure all access points through company-wide implementation.


Multiple authentication factor options grant more convenience and security for the user.

Evaluate protocols regularly

Check for security vulnerabilities and zero-day exploits.

Leverage context for adaptive MFA

User experience is enhanced through context, such as device, location, or behavioral clues, that eliminate unnecessary additional factors.

Adopt a standardized approach

Consistent standards through the security network and IT infrastructures ensure clear communication and consistent maintenance.

Combine with other security tools

MFA can be paired with other tools to further enhance the security strategy of your organization.

Privacy protocols

Ensure that the user’s confidential data is used for verification processes only, in compliance with relevant privacy laws.

Lockdown protocols

Act as a last resort when multiple logs of suspicious activity are detected. Minimizes how far ransomware can spread or how far a hacker can get into your network.

Self-Service Features

Use MFA to offer users the ability to reset passwords, securely authenticate or verify suspicious activity, or engage in other actions that would have required approval from the IT team.

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