What is Two-Factor Authentication and Why is it Important?

17/04/2020 14:49:05
"Identity is the history that has gone into bone and blood and reshaped the flesh. Identity is not what we were but what we have become, what we are at this moment." - Nick Joaquín

No one alive remembers the days before official ID cards of some ilk, required to prove identity, but the history of proving identity goes back to the dawn of time. 100,000 years ago, unique jewelry, tattoos or scarification were used to prove identity. They came to the advent of writing and with it, identification paperwork. From there we moved on to the photographs, fingerprints, digital records and advanced biometrics we use today.

Multi-factor authentication is the process of proving one’s identity based on a combination of knowledge, possession, and inherence (something the user is), unique to a single person. By combining, for example, a birthday and a password, or a local ID number and the name of a person’s first school, it’s much more likely in this increasingly digital age, that the person is who they claim to be. Multi-factor authentication is known to have been first widely used in the banking industry, as all it required was a bank card and a user-generated PIN - both unique to the user.

The person responsible for the advent of two-factor authentication is disputed, with many claiming to have invented it back in the 1980s, but USA company AT&T filing the first official patent in 1998. It’s now in use in every major industry from education and government to logistics and in every household with internet access.  Many complain about the added complexity of proving our online identity - but by taking just a brief look back into world history we can see that this has been coming for a long time. We are quite sure people weren’t thrilled about receiving identifying tattoos and scars (especially those identifying the wearer as a criminal or slave) or even having to carry paperwork to prove their identity (especially when a majority of the world was illiterate).

There are many ways to provide this two-factor authentication. For example, Sangfor IAM is a superior Internet behaviour management solution consisting of professional internet bandwidth management, application control, URL filters, traffic control, information control, illegal hotspot/proxy control, behaviour analysis, wireless network management and many more features. The most fundamental feature of IAM is user identification. In the office, network security should the first priority. Administrators need to ensure that users are who they say they are by requiring specific identification. In public hotspots, compliance and regulations need to be maintained with a unique user ID in a convenient way, conscious of user experience. Charged with protecting internet users in the enterprise, secure web gateways should always require two-factor authentication for those hoping to safely use internet or Wi-Fi - and Sangfor has made it as convenient as possible to verify identity by allowing authentication via things like SMS, social media and QR code. Taking things beyond the traditional defenses of an SWG, Sangfor IAM allows the user to tailor QR codes to specific visitor groups, eliminating the need to regularly change the Wi-Fi password and enabling easy tracking of users, traffic and behavior.

Why Sangfor?
We’ve learned from history that authentication of identity is an ever-evolving and increasingly complex process - unlikely to get simpler. But Sangfor IAM has struck the perfect balance between the safety of the user, the security of the network and ease of use.

Sangfor Technologies is an APAC-based, global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Visit us at www.sangfor.com to learn more about Sangfor’s network security options, and let Sangfor make your IT simpler, more secure and more valuable.

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