With an increased rate of cybercrime worldwide, businesses constantly live under the fear of security breaches at present. A report reveals that the second quarter of 2022 witnessed an unprecedented increase of global cyber-attacks by 32% as compared to the second quarter of 2021. This is why businesses had to consider superior security measures in order to keep their data secured from external attacks. This is where Salesforce MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) comes to the rescue and eases the task of business owners to help them secure their data. Undoubtedly, Salesforce MFA offers an easy and effective way to guarantee all the necessary protective measures against unauthorized account access.
What is Salesforce MFA?
Salesforce Multi-Factor Authentication is a secure authentication method of superior quality that urges users to provide more than one piece of evidence and prove their identity whenever they try to log into an online account. Multi-Factor Authentication ensures an extra layer of security against threats like phishing attacks, and high-quality security for your business and also customers. This is a very recent aspect of Salesforce that came into effect on February 1, 2022. Salesforce strongly recommends all its customers to use Multi-Factor Authentication while accessing Salesforce products.
Whenever a user tries accessing an account, Salesforce MFA requires him/her to validate their identity with two or more forms of evidence or factors. One factor is common that requires the user to enter their username and password. Other factors include verification steps that the user has in their possession which could be a security key or an authenticator application. The Salesforce Multi-Factor Authentication efficiently prevents occurrences of situations such as account takeovers and phishing attacks or something else. This makes Salesforce one of the best providers of data security measures in the industry.
How MFA can Ensure Data Security?
We are aware that today businesses had to deal with a large amount of crucial data. The data may be confidential, shareable, coded, non-coded, and what not. This is why businesses had to ensure that their valuable data is protected and kept under strong vigilance of the company, so that, no one can hack or utilize the data in an unlawful or unethical way. Salesforce CRM has always been committed to provide high-quality services to its customers and protect their valuable data. The introduction of Multi-Factor Authentication by Salesforce undoubtedly guarantees strong security measures in the current scenario of secured business operations.
With the widespread impact of COVID-19, work from home became a new normal which also increased dependency on cyberspace. Honestly speaking, this increased dependence on cyberspace enhanced the demand for cybersecurity measures to a great extent since forgery and unethical cyber practices also increased. The 2021 IBM Security Report released in July 2021 revealed in their global study that data breaches lead to an average cost of USD 4.24 million for each incident. Unfortunately, this is the highest cost witnessed in the past 17 years from the date of this report being released. Besides, the real-world analyses of global data breaches of over 500 companies exhibit that the cost of each incident has been on the rise by 10 per cent every year.
Gladly, a study by Forrester Research proves that Multi-Factor Authentication can prevent up to 96 percent of bulk phishing attempts, and all threats posed to the bots. MFA can be seamlessly implemented and allow the users to take advantage of the highest efficacy in upgrading login security. It should be kept in mind that no matter how highly secured measures are introduced to protect the data, the cybersecurity threat landscape is always evolving to new levels. Hackers are always on a quest to come up with more sophisticated methods of capturing data. Despite, security measures, cyber-attacks can still destabilize business growth and exploit consumers. Google’s Safe Browsing report shows that number of phishing websites increased to a degree of 80% in 2020.
To sum up the Salesforce MFA requirement in protecting data it can be said that Salesforce MFA improves login security by adding an extra layer of protection against unknown account access. MFA guards user accounts from major threats such as phishing attacks, credential stuffing, and account takeovers. It is indeed a secure authentication process that requires users to verify their identity by providing two or more pieces of evidence when they tend to log in. This is why Salesforce firmly urges its customers to implement the most trending security measures conforming to industry standards. Of course, MFA is in the priority list when it comes to security of data.
The good news is that the Multi-Factor Authentication for Salesforce is right away available for its products that are created on the Salesforce platform, for the B2C commerce cloud, marketing Cloud-Datorama, Marketing Cloud – Email and Mobile Studio, and the Journey Builder. The option is accessible at no additional cost. Also, Salesforce already extends its support for Single Sign-on (SSO). The SSO support emphasizes more on the Salesforce MFA requirement for securing essential data.
Now, the common question may arise if SSO can really ensure Salesforce MFA requirement. We will answer this pertinent question in the next section.
Does Single Sign-on assures MFA requirement?
To answer this question, we can start with a “yes”. The fact is that as long as all the Salesforce products you use are integrated with SSO, along with MFA enabled on the identity provider, and all users who acquire a Salesforce product’s user interface do so through SSO, then MFA requirement is satisfied by SSO. But make sure use a federated SSO solution based on the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) or OpenID Connect standard protocols. Also, keep in mind that Delegated Authentication does not satisfy the MFA requirement.
For satisfying the requirement to the fullest, you must follow these steps,
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for users who log in to Salesforce products (including partner solutions) via the user interface.
- Use federated single sign-on (SSO) in case of Salesforce products, including partner solutions. If you are thinking to implement SSO, we too shall need customers to enable MFA for your identity provider (IdP). With the support of a well-implemented SSO procedure, you can minimize the chances of some of the risks involved in case of entering weak or reused passwords, and easily allow your users to log in to frequently-used applications.
4 Major Questions to Ask Yourself Before Implementing MFA
From 2022 onwards, it has become mandatory for all Salesforce customers to adhere to the Multi-Factor Authentication configuration so that they can access all the Salesforce products without being involved in any violation of the Salesforce contracts. Before jumping into the implementation procedure, it is essential to tick the boxes available within Salesforce MFA checklist. This is why it is important to ask a few questions to yourself before implementing Salesforce MFA.
What exactly MFA is and what makes it so important?
Well, this question should come in the first place while preparing the Salesforce MFA checklist. You should consider this question while implementing anything and not just in the case of Salesforce MFA. You should be clear about the concept and figure out what can you gain from the implementation.
As already discussed, MFA is a secure authentication method that asks users to prove their identity by providing two or more pieces of evidence (or “factors”) whenever they log into an account. One factor is commonly applicable to all the accounts such as their username and password. The other factors can be verification methods that the user can control, such as an authenticator app or security key.
This authentication method varies from knowledge-based authentication, or KBA, which does probing sessions to confirm identity by asking questions like, “what’s the name of your mother-in-law’s”, or “where is your hometown”. This involves an extra security step and since it is also a known information that someone can find on social media. Moreover, MFA requires dynamic data (a time-based one-time password, a security key, etc.), it is indeed an essential tool for improving login security and protecting your business as well as data against external threats.
An example stating the way an MFA can keep your data secured
How will I establish MFA once a Salesforce Administer has configured it?
Once your Salesforce Administer configured MFA in your Salesforce account, you need to follow a few steps to set up the MFA in your system to make full use of the method. Please note you won’t be able to use MFA until the settings are completed. The steps you need to follow are mentioned below,
- Go to Salesforce and enter your credentials.
- Then you will be required to set up MFA and select an authentication method. A few options will appear on your screen so you need to choose carefully whichever is best for you. Salesforce has its own app that shares a push notification to your mobile ensuring that you won’t have to type in a code every time you log in.
- In the third step you need to download the app and once the download is done, you will be asked to link your Salesforce account. Then you just need to click on the ‘Add an Account’ option below the authenticator app.
- Then the option of linking up will pop up before you. You need to link your account via a two-word phrase or a QR code. You can choose either of the two.
- In the final step, you are all good to go because you have finally completed all the 4 steps and linked your account. The setup is complete.
What are the MFA methods?
There are four main methods involved in MFA which are SMS, an authenticator app, built-in authenticators, and security keys. Among the four, SMS has an important role to play since it is the most frequently used additional factor. SMS is something that almost everybody has, and it is relatively easy to handle. But it should be kept in mind that it is the least secure. Secondly, an authenticator app can be considered as the easiest and most cost-effective method. It is a free app that users can download on their smartphones.
Thirdly, there comes Built-in authenticators that can be used from the user’s mobile device such as touch ID, face recognition, or a PIN that the person has installed in the operating system. This is available for Heroku, Marketing Cloud, Datorama, and MuleSoft Anypoint Platform. Lastly, there is the last method called the security keys. It is a small physical token that operates as a verification method for MFA logins. Security keys can be seamlessly used because there is nothing to install and no codes are required to enter manually. But this is a paid option. For example, Yubikey by Yubico or Google’s Titan Security Key.
What will happen if I don’t implement MFA by October, 2022?
If you didn’t get the time to initiate MFA to all your users by the end of October 2022, Salesforce will not block you from logging in or continuing to use. But in such a case, you will be considered acting against their compliance. It clearly indicates you need to get MFA installed in your organization as early as possible. MFA will be officially enforced in the year 2023.
Besides, you will be reminded by Salesforce itself about the MFA requirement if you don’t install. So, what does this mean? Salesforce will automatically turn this feature on for you. If you are still not prepared, you should definitely start thinking of implementing Salesforce MFA.
How to implement Salesforce MFA in your business?
Now you will get the answer, you are looking for. By now, you must have all the answers you should seek before implementation. So, it is already the time to let you know about the implementation of Salesforce Multi-Factor Authentication in your business.
Let’s take into account the number of users and other requirements your company has around compliance. Based on these factors it may take some time to roll out.
- Carefully observe the How Multi-Factor Authentication Works to Protect Account Access video to learn how MFA operates.
- Read diligently the Salesforce Multi-Factor Authentication FAQ for exploring more details about the Salesforce MFA requirement and how to satisfy it.
- Make effective use of the Multi-Factor Authentication Assistant for in-app, step-by-step guidance on planning and ultimately initiating the MFA.
- Check out the Multi-Factor Authentication Quick Guide for Admins to understand how to prepare for MFA and make it available to your users.
- And lastly, get yourself properly informed about the change management best practices to Prepare Your Users for Multi-Factor Authentication.
So, that’s all. Now you may get started.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Salesforce MFA
Now, we will discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of Salesforce MFA to identify the Salesforce MFA benefits and the drawbacks involved in the process. Like everything, Salesforce MFA too has advantages as well as disadvantages. So, here we will start with the advantages first.
- MFA acts as a crucial tool for securing consumer data from unauthorized access. By implementing this security method, the protection of the traditional username and password login is supplemented by an extra layer of security. Cybercriminals will find it difficult to crack TOTP since it will be notified either via SMS or through an automated phone call.
- Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication can act as a vital solution when the question of complying with certain industry regulations arises. For example, PCI-DSS requires MFA to be implemented in certain situations to remove unknown users from accessing systems. So, even when the app upgrades involve unknown and unattended consequences at times, MFA compliance makes sure that it remains virtually unobtrusive.
- It can be said that by nature Multi-Factor Authentication is reliable and not invasive at all. It does not impact the rest of the virtual space of an organization. Besides, it provides an intuitive user experience that enables it to be selected by the consumer with almost little or no effort.
- An ideal MFA that complies by the industry standards includes an SSO solution. With this, you no longer need to create multiple complex passwords that are often difficult to remember for different applications. The use of a secondary authentication with SSO confirms the consumer identity and prevents the risk of losing data due to password loss or misplacement. This indeed saves a lot of time and ensures superior security.
Now, we will look through the drawbacks and identify the potential problems involved in the use of Salesforce MFA and propose appropriate solutions in order to avoid those problems.
The disadvantages of Salesforce MFA are as follows,
- Multi-factor authentication usually takes more time. Besides, for using MFA one has to enter two or more forms of authentication that takes up a lot of time in the process. Moreover, the configuration itself is time-consuming sometimes.
- This security method is not free. This is why businesses can’t set up Multi-Factor Authentication by themselves.
- Manually entering of codes involves high chances of errors.
- The implementation of MFA involves certain risks because if your mobile device’s time goes out of sync with Salesforce then you may get invalid codes.
We have to admit that there will be advantages and disadvantages involved in all the security methods we use to protect our data. So, Salesforce Multi-Factor Authentication is not an exception. We can’t deny that Salesforce MFA is something that helps in enhancing the data security of organizations. Apart from this, the Salesforce MFA requirement allows you to customize/personalize the cybersecurity strategy depending on the requirements and nature of your business.
So, did you start your business journey with Salesforce MFA yet? If not, then you must get in touch with our Salesforce Consultants at Webuters.
Our Salesforce Consultants can help adapt the Salesforce MFA your business desires and at the same time can offer a superior security strategy for your organization.
Get in touch with us soon to avoid violation of your Salesforce Contract.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) FAQs
What is the difference between Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and two-factor authentication (2FA)?
Ans: Both MFA and 2FA provide protection against unauthorized access by urging the users to supply with multiple authentication factors to prove that their identity is authentic. The only difference between the two is that the number of factors that are involved in the process of logging in. MFA requires two or more factors, offering options for many combinations of authentication techniques while 2FA is a subset or a part of MFA that involves two factors only.
Why is Salesforce requiring MFA?
Ans: Effective from February 1, 2022, Salesforce requires all the customers to employ MFA while accessing any of the Salesforce products because it provides an additional layer of security against serious threats like phishing attacks, data stealing, etc., ensuring protection for your business as well as your customers.
Can we enable MFA in Salesforce without using our SSO provider’s MFA service?
Ans: It should be kept in mind that for the products created on the Salesforce Platform, you can make use of the MFA functionality available within Salesforce instead of using your SSO provider’s MFA service. This is how users can log in through your SSO login page. Then they will be directed to Salesforce, where they will be required to supply their MFA verification method to confirm their identity.
What are third-party TOTP authenticator apps?
Ans: Every Salesforce product enabled with MFA functionality is capable of supporting the use of third-party authenticator apps as verification methods for MFA logins. You can choose any authenticator app that generates temporary codes depending on the OATH time-based one-time password (TOTP) algorithm. Although there are many options of accessing free and paid authenticator apps but the mostly used ones include Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and Authy.
While logging in using this type of verification method, the user receives a code from a TOTP authenticator app, then applies that code during the Salesforce login process.
Can hackers still beat MFA?
Ans: Unfortunately, the answer the yes. Despite strong security methods, there are many ways hackers can get past MFA to carry out their illegitimate and devastating cybercrimes. This is why you have to be very careful with MFA and make sure that you are complying by all the rules and regulations stated by Salesforce while using MFA. Also, never hesitate to seek help from a Salesforce expert in case of any problem and always remain cautious. This can keep you safe from the cyberattacks of the hackers.