Multi-factor authentication and encryption key: Overview

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By PeterLogan

During this technological era, data encryption is paramount when it comes to data security, be it for personal or cooperate levels. However, even though encrypted data is safe, weakness is evident in the authentication process. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an authentication method where the user provides multiple verification factors to gain access to a variety of resources such as applications and VPNs.

Why is MFA Important?

Generally, instead of using usernames and passwords any time you want to access your resources, Multi-Factor Authentication will only require a verification factor, decreasing the chances of a cyber-attack being successful.

Therefore, MFA enhances the security of an organization because users have to identify themselves before accessing the resources, not just by inputting usernames and passwords. One might wonder, why is it important to secure your data with more than just passwords? With passwords, your data might be vulnerable to attacks, especially from a third party. However, with a multi-factor authentication, it will be easier to secure the data with factors such as thumbprints.

Therefore, any organization, public or private, needs to make use of multi-factor authentication and encryption key; these are the starting points towards securing private information.

How Does Multifactor Authentication Work?

For MFA tow work, a user has to input additional verification information. The most common factor among organizations is the use of OTPs (one-time passwords). These are the numbers sent through e-mail or via SMS, helping the user generate codes every time they submit an authentication. The nature of the code generated is dictated by the seed value assigned to a user after registering. Some MFA methods include:

  1. Hardware OTP

This is mostly used for hardware-based devices that generate codes on a cryptographic key from within the device. This key is also in a server, meaning that the same OTP can be generated to ensure that what the user provides is correct.

  1. Soft Token Software Development Kits

A user can use software embedded within mobile applications. These programs utilize cryptographic operations, authenticating both a user and a device. One of the good things about it is that it smoothens the user experience. For example, you do not have to switch from one app to another or depend on hardware devices. Additionally, these kits can support the use of advanced technology and cryptographic operations, for example, the use of a digital signature.

  1. Smartcards and cryptographic-hardware tokens

Both of these encryption methods work the same. However, the difference comes in on how to connect these tools to the hardware devices. For a smart card, it can be contactless or require the use of readers. For tokens, most of them are connected to the devices using USB.

How has MFA and Encryption Key Management helped the Healthcare industry?

  • It is easier to stop automated cyberattacks
  • Users can comply with regulations
  • It is a safer option compared to the use of passwords
  • Enhances client trust


One of the most essential things for any organization is ensuring that data is safe from unauthorized access. With MFA and encryption key management, it is hard for data to e breached.