Due to increased data security threats, there is an increased demand for data security and protection protocols to prevent unauthorized system access. One of the ideal protocols used by companies and individuals is user authentication. Their primary role is to authenticate an individual before granting them access to the system.
User authentication is crucial because it upholds the security of confidential data and shields it from unauthorized users. When user authentication procedures are not in place, cybercriminals are more likely to get access to and steal data.
Different user authentication methods are ideal for data protection; the choice is to select the most suitable one based on the system and company policies.
Here are some authentication methods you can consider to secure system access.
Most people and companies heavily rely on password authentication as the primary protocol. It is ideal for granting access to different databases, especially for companies that use different servers, databases, and files with different data access levels and access requirements. Passwords may be vulnerable; hence you need to enforce stronger and stricter password rules and policies to ensure safety. Some rules to consider are the length, number, and type of characters and how frequently employees should change their passwords.
When using password protocols, you also need to ensure the password is system-based and cannot be used on another system, nor can another password grant access to the system. Passwords are vulnerable to sharing, and sometimes employees write down their passwords to avoid forgetting them. This makes them one of the most susceptible authentication protocols unless used correctly and based on rules.
Passwords have a lot of weaknesses that may make the entire system vulnerable; hence they need additional authentication protocols to back them up. You can consider alternatives to passwords or multiple authentications, granting users the freedom to use one access protocol.
Biometric authentication methods
Using biological attributes is increasingly becoming a reliable system protection and authentication method. This is because people can never share similar biological characteristics, granting only one authorized person access to the system. There are different biometric attributes you can adopt to protect the system.
- Facial recognition
It matches the facial appearance to the images stored in the company database. You have to be at a certain angle for the system to recognize you quickly, and you need to remove hats and masks to allow uninterrupted access.
- Fingerprint scanners
Nowadays, you do not need a separate scanner unless you are operating security doors. The scanners are currently integrated into devices, making scanning one or more fingerprints easier. Before granting access, the machine will match the details with the database’s available details.
- Voice recognition
This is mainly used for handheld devices paired with different voice recognition technologies such as Siri and Google Assistant. They can sometimes be challenging to operate, especially when there is a change in your voice due to illnesses or the surrounding noise.
When dealing with many system users, you need multi-factor authentication (MFA) to boost the existing security protocols. Multi-factor authentication uses two or more security protocols to access the system. It can include password access paired with biometrics, a token-based approach paired with a password, or pairing tree approaches based on data sensitivity.
MFA can also be ideal when one has lost a device or forgotten a password. Users can rely on the other options, but this is highly limited.
However, most companies prefer using both and all authentications to grant systems access, and that also leads to another challenge. Suppose a company pairs mobile phone access protocol and passwords; losing a phone means denied access.
Alternatively, if you forget the password, you can’t access the system even if you have a mobile phone. Sometimes the phone may delay or may not generate an authentication code due to issues such as network challenges.
There are also other approaches besides the mobile-based verification process. For example, you can use security questions and passwords or biometrics and passwords. The method you select should be efficient and supported by the system to prevent any access challenges.
The authentication protocols identify the system users based on the digital certification. It contains the user details and digital identity to enable them to easily access the system. With the right public key and digital signature, one can easily access the system just like they would use username and password protocols for authentication.
Besides, the certificates prove the ownership of the public key and digital signature, which are needed to access the system.
After providing the digital certificate, the server will verify the digital signature and certificate of authority. Next, the server uses cryptography to confirm that the user has the correct private key linked to the certificate before granting system access. It is suitable for employees operating sensitive organizational databases and servers.
This is one of the most secure authentication processes. Users enter their credentials to access the systems after receiving encrypted and random characters, which grants them permission for the first stage of system access. You can set the system only to allow token-based access protocols instead of demanding following access details and credentials. The token grants you permission to access the system; however, company protocols may require you to enter additional information.
The authentication method you select should guarantee maximum device security and seal any potential loopholes for data breaches. Moreover, it should be compatible with the system, user-friendly, and complex to ensure only authorized access. Alternatively, you can combine two or more protocols to cover the weaknesses of each.