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MFA could be the future of workplace security

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Organizations have increased their spending on multi-factor authentication (MFA) during the pandemic as more employees worked from home (opens in new tab) than ever before and this trend looks set to continue according to a new report from Yubico (opens in new tab) and 451 Research.

To compile the new report titled “Work-from-Home Policies Driving MFA Adoption, But Still Work to be Done (opens in new tab)”, 451 Research surveyed 200 executive management, senior IT management, mid-level management, senior security and risk staff across a number of different industries to reveal that nearly 75 percent of enterprise security and risk managers plan to increase MFA spending going forward.

There are many reasons for this including the fact that most security breaches (opens in new tab) are the result of stolen credentials and phishing attacks (opens in new tab), work from home policies are now becoming the new normal and greater adoption of modern authentication standards such as Fast Identity Online (FIDO) U2F, FIDO2 (opens in new tab) and WebAuthn.

MFA adoption

MFA was the top security technology adopted during the pandemic by organizations that wanted to secure their remote workforces. Of those surveyed by 451 Research, three out of four respondents (74%) said they plan to increase spending on MFA this year as well.

One reason MFA has seen such high adoption recently is because 53 percent of respondents have experienced a security incident or breach in the past year. However, user experience (43%), complexity (41%) and cost (36%) are still the main obstacles to MFA adoption (opens in new tab).

Reliance on SMS-based or two-factor authentication (2FA (opens in new tab)) is still holding organizations back though with only 22 percent of respondents perceiving this kind of security as an issue despite growing evidence of breaches and cyberattacks that exploit mobile or SMS-based authentication methods. 

CEO and Founder of Yubico Stina Ehrensvärd provided further insight on the report in a press release (opens in new tab), saying:

“The pandemic and the move to cloud-based office applications has been a turning point for enterprises to implement and modernize their multi-factor authentication. What this research shows is that while there is an appetite for strong security with an elegant user experience, many companies stick with less effective old habits and technologies. A user deployment study by Google was the first to highlight the remarkable benefits and return on investment of YubiKeys and security keys. This new research is a great further validation of the authentication technology Yubico invented and the standards work we have spearheaded.” 

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.