Introduction to authentication

Introduction to authentication

What is authentication?

Businesses need to authenticate people who have access to company resources. In the physical world this may be a swipe card to enter the building, or a code to enter a locked door. If a person has this swipe card or code, they have been authenticated as someone allowed in that building or room.

Authentication is the act of confirming the identity of a person or other entity. In the context of a private computer network, the identities of users or host computers must be established to ensure that only authorized parties can access the network. The FortiGate unit enables controlled network access and applies authentication to users of security policies and VPN clients.

Methods of authentication

FortiGate unit authentication is divided into three basic types: password authentication for people, certificate authentication for hosts or endpoints, and two-factor authentication for additional security beyond just passwords. An exception to this is that FortiGate units in an HA cluster and FortiManager units use password authentication.

Password authentication verifies individual user identities, but access to network resources is based on membership in user groups. For example, a security policy can be configured to permit access only to the members of one or more user groups. Any user who attempts to access the network through that policy is then authenticated through a request for their username and password.

Methods of authentication include:

l Local password authentication l Server-based password authentication l Certificate-based authentication l Two-factor authentication

Methods of authentication


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