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Blog May 1, 2024 MFA, PKI, PKI Spotlight

Strengthening Security with Centralized MFA Integration

by Lindsay Bell
Unlocking Multi-Factor Authentication Capabilities with PKI Spotlight

In today’s digitally-driven era, safeguarding sensitive data and systems against unauthorized access is paramount. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) has emerged as a fundamental security measure, adding an extra layer of protection to authentication processes. While implementing MFA across various systems can be complex, integrating it with a centralized MFA solution streamlines management and enhances security. In this blog post, we’ll explore how organizations can integrate PKI Spotlight®, a leading Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) monitoring solution, with centralized MFA solutions to bolster security while addressing user exclusion scenarios.

The Significance of Centralized MFA Integration

Centralized MFA solutions offer numerous advantages for organizations striving to fortify their security posture:

  1. Consistency: Enforce uniform MFA policies across all systems and applications, ensuring consistent security standards organization-wide.
  2. Simplicity: Streamline MFA management tasks, including user provisioning, policy configuration, and auditing, through centralized administration.
  3. Enhanced Security: Leverage advanced security features like adaptive authentication and real-time threat intelligence to effectively detect and mitigate potential security risks.

Integrating PKI Spotlight with Centralized MFA

PKI Spotlight runs on top of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), which supports underlying authentication solutions already deployed in enterprise environments such as Active Directory (AD). AD has a large and diverse market of 3rd party solution integrations for MFA – all implicitly supported by PKI Spotlight. Organizations can leverage this capability to enable proxy, federation, or agent-based integration methods. Let’s delve into each approach:

  1. IIS Integrated Authentication (Default mode): Since PKI Spotlight runs on top of IIS, accounts accessing the PKI Spotlight Controller are authenticated by Windows IIS. In the default Integrated Authentication mode, when Active Directory accounts are MFA enabled, they are authenticated before accessing PKI Spotlight. This is because a user accessing the PKI Spotlight Controller has their authentication Kerberos (or NTLM) token passed to the server without needing additional authentication.
  2. Proxy Integration: Deploy an MFA proxy within your network infrastructure to intercept authentication requests destined for PKI Spotlight. Configure the proxy to enforce MFA policies in the centralized MFA solution, ensuring users undergo multi-factor verification before accessing Spotlight. Many existing solutions in the enterprise provide IIS integration.
  3. Federation Integration: Establish federation between PKI Spotlight and the centralized MFA solution, allowing PKI Spotlight to rely on the MFA solution for user authentication. Users attempting to access PKI Spotlight are redirected to the centralized MFA solution for authentication, where MFA policies are enforced before granting access to PKI Spotlight.
  4. Agent Integration: Install agents or connectors on PKI Spotlight servers to integrate with the centralized MFA solution. These agents intercept authentication requests and enforce MFA policies configured within the centralized MFA solution, ensuring that users authenticate via multi-factor verification before accessing PKI Spotlight.
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Example: Enforce MFA only users

In scenarios where certain users require exemption from MFA requirements, organizations can leverage user group-based policies within the centralized MFA solution. Here’s a high-level example of how to exclude a list of users from MFA:

  1. Group-Based Policies: Define user groups within the centralized MFA solution to categorize users based on their MFA requirements.
  2. Exclusion Policy: Configure an exclusion policy within the MFA solution to exempt specific user groups from MFA requirements. This policy may involve bypassing MFA enforcement for designated user groups or applying less stringent MFA requirements.
  3. Integration Configuration: Ensure that the chosen integration method (proxy, federation, or agent) is configured to honor the exclusion policy for the designated user groups. Users within the excluded groups will be exempt from MFA requirements when accessing Spotlight.
  4. Enforcement via IIS: You can enforce MFA by creating a group of non-MFA accounts (e.g., “non-MFA Group”) in Active Directory and configure deny rights at the IIS level for that group. This allows you to control access to web resources based on membership in the AD group.


By integrating PKI Spotlight with centralized MFA solutions using proxy, federation, or agent-based approaches, organizations can enhance security, streamline administration, and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Whether enforcing MFA policies uniformly or accommodating user exclusion scenarios, centralized MFA integration empowers organizations to fortify their security posture effectively in today’s dynamic threat landscape.


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