Many organizations take significant steps to secure their internal networks, but those security controls do not necessarily extend outside the office. Employees may inadvertently bypass these security controls as they access corporate resources from new devices and new networks.
In addition, consider that your employees may not only be working from their home, but from a cafe, airport, or any other location. This increases the chances of an employee’s device being lost or stolen, potentially allowing a bad actor to access sensitive corporate data.
At Okta, we strongly encourage customers to add a supplementary layer of security to all user accounts in the form of multi-factor authentication (MFA). Additional factors can take many forms, like security questions and SMS one-time passwords, but we recommend using strong factors like mobile authenticator apps and biometrics.
Here are steps you can take to get MFA rolled out to all your employees in a timely manner, regardless of where they are located:
Identify which factors you will make available to your employees
Our suggestion is to enable biometrics with WebAuthn (FIDO2.0) and mobile authenticator apps like Okta Verify, but we also commonly see SMS OTP and Email OTP. It’s a good idea to make at least two factor types available to users in case they do not have access to a phone during the time of enrollment.
Decide if certain groups require stronger factors
Executives and employees who have access to sensitive information should ideally be required to provide a WebAuthn (FIDO2.0) supported factor. Examples of this include TouchID on MacOS, Windows Hello, fingerprint on Android, as well as FIDO2.0 supported hard tokens. If your employees do not have laptops or phones which support FIDO2.0 authenticators, consider sending them FIDO2.0 hard tokens from Yubico.
Roll out MFA in a phased manner
Determine the groups that should enroll to MFA first, and expand from there. For example, you can choose to roll out MFA in an order similar to this:
- Phase 1 : IT and Security staff
- Phase 2: Executives (C-levels, VPs)
- Phase 3: Employees with access to privileged information (Sales team with access to customer data, marketing teams with access to revenue information, engineers with access to source code etc)
- Phase 4: All other full time employees
- Phase 5: Interns, contractors, temporary workers
- Phase 6: External partners who need to access your corporate resources
If you are new to WebAuthn (FIDO2.0), you can find more detail here. And, don’t forget to check out how WebAuthn works using the WebAuthn demo site.
Rolling out MFA is an essential resource in securing app access for both admins’ and end-users’ cloud applications, it also has some remote-work applications that you may not be aware of: