By Mohammed Murad

The use of two-factor identification (2FA) for authenticating a person’s identity is widely recognized as a best practice for enterprise physical and logical access control. Yet people often refer to multi-layer authentication (MLA) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) as though they are the same time. That’s not necessarily true.

A good end-to-end solution requires employees to authenticate identities to enter the facility, offices and gain access to networked workstations. Multi-layer authentication typically checks an employee’s identity multiple times between the front door and the computer. The access control system places restrictions on which doors or devices an employee’s card, fob or PIN may enter. While this potentially offers greater security, single factor authentications offer no assurance the person using the card is the one it was issued to.

Multi-factor identification follows an MLA protocol but requires a second factor to confirm an identity. That second factor may be providing a one-time PIN for each reader using text messages or emails. That helps, but a text or email message to an unsecured personal device may be intercepted by hackers. Also, it slows passage through the facility.

One improvement is the use of smart cards which store data including a user’s private key. The card can only be unlocked with a user’s password or PIN. However, without proper encryption from manufacturer, the cards are vulnerable to hackers intercepting the data.

Biometrics – iris, facial and fingerprint scans – make an ideal second factor. Of the three top biometric methods, iris recognition is considered the fastest and most accurate. Authentication at each reader station takes only a second. Again, look for a manufacturer known for designing reader software that can’t be hacked.

When it comes to proven biometric technology, Iris ID leads the industry with more than 20 years of industry experience. Our iris recognition technology daily authenticates the identity of millions of people around the world.

For more information on our products and end-to-end solutions, visit the Iris ID website.

(Mohammed Murad is vice president, global sales and business development, Iris ID.)