Total Cost of Deploying Multi-Factor Authentication

SDO Marketing Staff | February 14, 2018

Ask any security expert how you should protect your employees against hackers, and one of the first things they’ll tell you is to setup two-factor or multifactor authentication (2FA/MFA) for your online services and business applications.

And they’re right.

2FA/MFA will protect your business’s sensitive data and resources against a host of cyberattacks and security incidents, including phishing scams, data breaches, man-in-the-middle attacks and more.

However, what most experts won’t tell you about is the costs involved in transitioning your organization to 2FA/MFA. In many cases, organizations abandon their solutions because they can’t handle the technical, administrative and financial overhead they incur from deploying 2FA/MFA. Here is what you need to know.

MFA Hardware and logistics costs

Some MFA solutions such as security keys require specialized hardware. Even after paying to acquire and import the hardware,  you organization must have the proper procurement channels and processes for quick replacements and new employees. You’ll also need the in-house expertise to maintain and update the hardware. This means you’ll have to hire experts, pay for education, or outsource the task to the manufacturer of the devices, all of which will incur more costs for your organization.

IT Helpdesk costs

Most MFA solutions have a usability tradeoff. They’re not very easy to use — the main reason why many users become disenchanted and default to less secure alternatives. A lot of your employees will struggle to learn and get used to the MFA technology you adopt. Some will lose their keys. Others will get locked out of their accounts. You’ll need to allocate resources to support your employees in using their secured accounts. This includes setting up the right helpdesk software and hiring support personnel to tend to the needs of your employees.

Setting up 2FA/MFA is meant to make sure you have business continuity. Not setting up and paying for a helpdesk solution for your two factor authentication or multi factor authentication technology will turn it into a self-defeating goal because it will result in employee downtime, which will in turn cause your business performance to suffer.

Most MFA services use passwords, which have a high total cost of ownership (TCO), but still rely on password policies (the first factor) that require a helpdesk. Helpdesks have its own cost in employee hours. Additionally, the more complicated the password policy is, the more maintenance is needed.

Password costs won’t go away

Let’s not forget that 2FA/MFA is tacked on your password infrastructure, not replacing it, which means none of the above costs will eliminate what you’re already paying for. You’re still responsible for keeping the passwords of your organization secure. This means using the right encryption tools and enforcing strong password policies on your employees. You must also employ the security solutions to protect your password data stores against hacks and data breaches.

banner - simple passwords - double secret octopus

Secret Double Octopus’s solution

Secret Double Octopus provides an authentication solution that minimizes the costs of ownership and provides the best security for your organization without causing friction in the user experience. Secret Double Octopus’s solution uses passwordless authentication along with multi-channel security mechanisms. From your organization’s perspective, this means deploying the solution will eliminate the costs of associated with password based authentication. These include storing, encrypting and protecting passwords. Additionally, according to Forrester Research, Gartner, and HDI, costs of the average call to technical support for a password reset range from $17 to $25. The fact that an estimated one in four helpdesk calls are password related, means eliminating password management will translate into substantial savings even for small organizations.

From your employees’ perspectives, password-less authentication means a friendlier user experience. This will in turn result in less employee confusion and lower support costs.

Secret Double Octopus uses a mobile app (Octopus Authenticator), which can be installed on employees’ personal or work phones. This means it will not require additional hardware costs. Meanwhile, while the app’s use is intuitive, under the hood it uses several different security mechanisms to prevent man-in-the-middle, spoofing, phishing and other kinds of attacks that other MFA solutions protect against.

Authentication methods compared - Secret Double Octopus