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It’s no secret that the demand for multi-factor authentication solutions is at an all-time high in the wake of numerous high-profile data security breaches. What may be less apparent, however, is that cloud-based multi-factor authentication solutions are fast becoming the authentication technology of choice for robust small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Of course, for decades, hardware-based tokens have remained the model for secure multi-factor authentication – until now, that is. Conventional hardware solutions are now proving more unwieldy and costly – from both a deployment and a management perspective – than their cloud-based multi-factor authentication solution alternatives.

In addition, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), and other regulatory groups require many businesses to utilize authentication solutions. This has prompted a growing number of companies that are becoming frustrated with traditionally cumbersome hardware-based authentication to look to cloud-based solutions for answers to their security woes.

Indeed, with their low pay-per-use fees, trouble-free provisioning, and inexpensive maintenance, cloud authentication solutions are often a much more palatable choice for so many sizeable SMBs. What’s more, these cloud-based multi-factor authentication solutions allow for numerous conveniences, including and perhaps most notably, network or application authentication from the company headquarters, employees’ individual laptops, remote locations, and even mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Clearly, the corporate landscape has shifted dramatically in the past seven years: One only has to think back to 2009, when the term Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) firmly elbowed its way into most organizations’ vernacular.

Gone are the days when users would access data solely from their company network. With the number of remote workers increasing daily at a dizzying rate, employees are just as frequently accessing company information from smartphones and tablets in an increasingly mobile era that most of them have embraced, albeit with a healthy dose of insecurity and trepidation.

Admittedly, the cloud still makes many in the IT space a bit anxious; placing company data – the backbone of any organization – on someone else’s cloud seems to have that effect. Luckily, cloud-based multi-factor authentication solutions continue to allay that particular anxiety. To wit: Had U.S. credit card companies, banks, and merchants employed multifactor authentication techniques, then the big box retailer data breaches in recent history wouldn’t have been so disruptive.

In the here and now, for those SMBs searching for affordable and rock solid-reliable authentication, cloud-based multi-factor authentication solutions seem to fit the bill – figuratively and literally, thanks to their cost benefits. Marry that with ease of deployment and scalability, and infinite portability and it appears that the sky’s the limit.

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Kim Kay is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who specializes in technology and possesses more than 20 years of experience in B2B and consumer publishing. A noted writer and editor across a myriad of mediums in both in the U.S. and overseas, she also served as the Editor-in-Chief of Computer Technology Review for more than a decade.

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