Everything you need to know about user authentication

What is user authentication?

User authentication is a key part of GDPR compliance and is the process of verifying human credentials to a machine to confirm the identity of the user. This usually consists of the simple input of a user ID and password, but as this is often too weak to protect important data, other factors of authentication can be added to bolster your cybersecurity.

How can user authentication be strengthened?

User authentication can be strengthened by layering cybersecurity methods to ensure that only an authorised user has the ability to access their account. This can be achieved in a number of ways:

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is a cybersecurity method in which users are required to enter a code into the system that is sent to one of their other devices, such as a smartphone. This adds another layer of security but can make the login process take slightly longer as the code might take a minute or two to be sent.

Third-party authentication

Third-party authentication is a process by which users can log in to their account via a third-party that may already have their credentials, like their social media account, phone, or email. OAuth is typically used for third-party authentication so that users can log in to a server via Facebook, Google, Twitter or a similar site. This can be easier for some users because they don’t have to memorise a different user name or password for every account they create, but it is essential that their third-party credentials are secure.

Context-based authentication

Context-based authentication is a cybersecurity method that requires the user to confirm their identity because there was suspicious activity on their account. For example, if an account was logged in via a different location or device than usual, a user will receive a notification on one of their other devices to confirm that they are the one trying to log in. This form of authentication is useful at detecting possible hackers as the user needs to provide extra security details to access their account.

If you need to bolster your security and become compliant with GDPR regulations, get in touch with Cyber Smart today and our experts can help you achieve government-backed Cyber Essentials, Cyber Essentials PLUS and IASME GDPR Certification.