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How to Secure the Remote Workforce with Multi-factor Authentication

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020, many businesses were required to have their employees work from home, and even with the vaccine rollout and a small beam of normalcy, many will continue to work remotely. In a recent Gartner CFO survey 74% of CFOs report that they plan to shift some employees to permanently work remotely.

Unfortunately, given a remote environment, security and accountability risks increase dramatically in the workforce. Remote workers are highly susceptible to phishing attacks as they are more vulnerable to being tricked by an imposter email. Organizations who had to standup cloud-based services quickly to support remote access often thought about convenience first and security was an afterthought. While technology such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) continued to be difficult to secure and scale to support the entirety of the workforce. 

For the future and this secure remote workforce model, IT systems and security need to rely and equally operate on a hybrid level, working in an on-premise environment and a remote one. This is no different for the Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions the organizations leverages to secure access to their applications, data, and transactions. 

What's the ideal IAM solution for remote access?

While on-premises IAM solutions can secure remote access, they to have challenges when it comes to being able to scale quickly and manage the hybrid environment of the business. The ideal solution is one that can handle hybrid environments. The ideal solution is an Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solution that is flexible enough to support all access regardless of where it is coming from. 

Another key aspect is to be able to strengthen authentication for the remote workforce in a way that is manageable by the employee themselves, as well as secure enough to be able to positively identify the individual who is requesting access. With multi-factor authentication (MFA) it is critical to have a strategy and solution, again, that is flexible with multiple options the employee can leverage should one be unavailable, and include the most secure and convenient authentication method - biometrics. 

Biometric authentication is one of the only methods that positively identifies the individual and not a device or token. Again it is about offering up options for the user to select from, but biometrics is a critical part to any remote access MFA strategy. Biometrics can not only positively identify the individual, but is also impossible to share with someone else and dissuades phishing attacks. 

Flexibility for a Hybrid Workforce

Adjusting to the remote workforce model requires a flexible Identity-as-a-Service solution that can address security and authentication challenges in a hybrid-work environment. For example any MFA strategy must offer the employee flexible options and include biometrics as a way of positively identifying the individuals gaining access to critical applications, data and transactions. 


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