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POC Member Update December 17, 2020

From the entire BEST Program, we wish you a Happy Holiday season and a safe, healthy New Year! We are grateful to work with you all and look forward to continuing to work with you as we move forward in this important project.

Transformation Spotlight:

Single Sign-On and

Multi-Factor Authentication Defined

One-Time Password, Two-Factor Authentication, Single Sign-on, Multi-Factor Authentication – there are many security terms that can confuse users, however, each of these terms represents different concepts or protocols. Today’s communication from the BEST team will define two major terms that are often used interchangeably: SSO and MFA. What Is Single Sign-On (SSO)? Single sign-on (SSO) is a login method in which users have one set of credentials to access multiple applications. One benefit of SSO is the streamlined approach which saves time by avoiding repetitive logging in and out of multiple applications. An example of SSO is using your email account to login into Office 365 to access Outlook, Word, or Excel (work emails, inbox, calendar, documents, photos, and videos). Another benefit of SSO includes simplification of IT monitoring and security control. With only one security token login, managing access to multiple applications is much easier and more immediate. While easy access for users is one of the benefits of SSO it is also a drawback. If a hacker gains entry into a system, they’ll have access to all of the applications tied to that login. What Is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)? With increased threats of cyberattacks and the new work from home/remote work environment, system security is critical. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) requires users to enter two or more identification factors to access an application. Typically, MFA systems use two or more of the following tools to authenticate individuals:

  • What you know: a password, personal identification number, or recovery questions;

  • What you have: one-time password (OTP), Bluetooth device, Apple Watch;

  • What you do / where you’re at: location-based authentication using GPS, IP address, or authentication services (i.e. trusted verification app or finger/Face ID).

The advantage of multi-factor authentication is that it’s very secure because it requires multiple authentication methods to verify your true identity. The Commonwealth continues to focus on security, by strengthening core systems and utilizing tools like SSO and MFA. These additional features are intended to provide end-users with an intuitive, customized login experience while utilizing safe and secure systems that will deter any would-be cyber-attacks.

2021 BEST Monthly Communications

We have adjusted our communications from bi-weekly updates to monthly updates. As a reminder, Program news and updates are posted on the website under the ‘News’ section after they are sent (

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