Technology

Mobile User Authentication – How to Go About it

Whenever the topic of security is discussed by IT, the major focus is on encryption. Well, scrambling sensitive user data to keep it safe from data thieves is certainly a great practice to start but so of the equal importance is user authentication process. During the process of authentication, at least a single party must prove its identity to the other one. While, providing smooth user authentication is the aim of every business in order to win customer trust via better UX, but with the whole world going mobile, risk associated are getting more complex and severe.

Just like any encryption technique, no authentication method provides 100% security (Is it even possible?) Since most of the time, the user credentials are the key for encryption and decryption, a failure in authentication process can cause harmful results. Once your sensitive user information is gone into wrong hands, so is your customer trust and need I say, how time consuming and costly is the process of data recovery after a breach.

The article highlights here some effective methods to boost security with mobile user authentication

1. Introduce policies around mobile user authentication

When it comes to security policies, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The security policies vary from business to business. But while planning the policies, the basics are must, such as, what is the sensitive information, who has access to what, what should be done in case of breach and so on! You must also impose some obvious things like password changes on regular intervals, asking for PIN on mobile devices, etc. The policies can also be extended to what the provided user/device combination can do based on the context and credentials. Once you have set the desired policies, you need to introduce the right authentication challenges to secure authentication.

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2. Introduce mobile two factor authentication

The adoption of two-factor authentication is no more a luxury, but a must. In simple words, two factor authentication requires “something you know plus something you have”. Generally, something you know is the typical username-password combination, while something you have is the One time password (OTP), also known as security token generated by a mobile app such as Google authenticator or a dedicated hardware device. Since in this approach, a dedicated device is tied to a specific user, it is far more secure than the traditional username password combination. Another reason behind implementing two factor authentication is the increasing threat of malware. There is always a challenge to find out what an app is doing, combined with the risk of your credentials being stolen by hackers, two-factor authentication adoption is must for mobile user authentication.

3. Adopt identity management solution

Identity management is one of the widely adopted solutions in the past few years that creates and manages identities of users. The solution also takes care of who has access to what. From guests to system admins, everybody has specific roles and specific access permissions. Therefore even if the credentials are compromised it will result into minimum losses. Most of the IAM solutions use existing directory services which means less headache of implementation and elimination of harmful redundancies.

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With consumerization and mobility becoming a trend, BYOD (Bring your own devices) trend is also emerged which again requires an identity and access management solution. Offering a centralized database of user access permission based on network, credentials, device, etc makes sense here. It also decreases the load on admin team and operating systems.

But unfortunately, there is no surefire way to boost security. And even after data breaches at its peak, security is still overlooked, especially when it comes to mobile user authentication. Are you also ignoring mobile user authentication?

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