Why password-only authentication is passé

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Mobility, cloud, BYOD lead to surge in two-factor authentication schemes

The rapid growth of mobile devices that can access corporate networks and data, the expanding use of cloud-based IT services, and the increasing popularity of apps such as online banking mean that IT needs to pay closer attention to authentication.

Ensuring that users are who they claim to be can keep enterprises from experiencing damaging security breaches and the loss or theft of data.

For many companies, the multifactor (or two-factor) approach to authentication -- the process of identifying an individual based on more than one factor such as a user name, password, smart card, or biometric attribute -- promises the best way to ensure someone’s true identity.

Although multifactor authentication has been around for years (think of automated teller machines that require ATM cards and personal identification numbers), things are quickly changing and demand for stronger authentication is on the rise.

Two main trends are having an impact on authentication, says Forrester analyst Eve Maler. One is the increasing frequency of security breaches that expose user passwords, other security data, and personally identifiable information. The other is the ubiquity of mobile devices.

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