Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a tried and true method for providing remote access to internal applications. VPN creates a private, encrypted tunnel for an off-site user to connect to applications in a corporate data center. Businesses that provide users with just a username and password to log into their VPN connections could be exposed to data breaches if those credentials are stolen.

Protecting your VPN access with multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an additional layer of defense. Check out these five reasons you should secure your VPN with MFA to ensure trusted access.

1. Protect Against Credential Theft

According to the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, 81 percent of hacking-related incidents leverage stolen or weak passwords, including VPN access. With stolen credentials, an attacker can access the corporate network over the VPN to try to gain access to your business data. An attacker could also potentially install malware or hold your data for ransom. However, layering strong MFA on top of a VPN defends against credential theft. MFA verifies the identity of all users with a second factor before granting access to corporate applications, which protects against various cyber attacks.

2.Compliance Requirements

Securing VPN access is also a data regulatory compliance requirement, and MFA helps achieve compliance. Adding MFA with your VPN
deployment instantly reduces the risk of a data breach while helping you easily meet compliance requirements.

3. Security for the Cloud

While VPNs deliver remote access to on-premises applications, many businesses are moving workloads to the cloud, which can introduce new vulnerabilities to your data. MFA helps streamline the process for logging into the VPN is the same as the process to log into email, file sharing, collaboration, or any other applications that have moved to the cloud.

4. Device Visibility

MFA  can give you insights into the devices accessing all applications. Businesses can see the security posture of all user devices, such as laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.

5. Access Security Policies

MFA offers the ability to enforce security policies based on user and device risk. For example, businesses can enforce a security policy for VPNs to allow access only from specific locations, such as the U.S., and from devices that have up-to-date software. This allows businesses to have a higher level of assurance before a user or their device access applications. For many businesses, MFA is the first step along the path to a zero-trust security model in which you base application access on user identity and the trustworthiness of devices. Adding MFA to a VPN unlocks secure access to ensures that access is trusted.

Why VPN for MFA? 

It’s easy to use: Duo provides the easiest to use MFA solution for VPN logins. MFA users can validate their identities with one-tap authentication. MFA is an effective security control against stolen credentials because an attacker would not only need to compromise a user’s credentials but also get physical access to that user’s device to execute an attack.

It offers flexible authentication options: MFA offers several methods of authentication to enable every user to easily access internal applications: One-time passcodes (OTP), phone calls, SMS, or hardware tokens with VPN. IT admins can enable one or more of these authentication options based on their environment and user convenience

It delivers stronger security with zero trust: MFA  can provide admins with insights into devices and their security posture. Admins can check for device health and enforce policies to allow access to internal applications only from secure and healthy devices. For example, admins can enforce a policy to allow VPN access only from a corporate-managed and up-to-date device.

Contact us to learn more about how MFA could work for your company’s VPN.