Layered Authentication

What Does Layered Authentication Mean?

Layered authentication is an information security (IS) management technique in which the identity of an individual or system is verified by more than one authentication process. It provides multiple levels of authentication, depending on the underlying transaction, system or operational environment.


Two types of layered authentication are multifactor authentication (MFA) and two-factor authentication.

Techopedia Explains Layered Authentication

Layered authentication is an identity and access management process that is implemented in an environment that has a high exposure to risk and fraud. It is typically used to authenticate individuals before granting access to a particular system and requires two or more proofs of identity for validation. For example, a layered authentication-based Internet banking solution requires at least two identity credentials, such as a username and social security number (SSN).

Similarly, in addition to personal credentials, layered authentication also may impart device level authentication, such as combining a username with a device’s media access control (MAC) address.

An authentication layer also may be interdependent. For example, users are not transferred to layer 2 until they have self-authenticated on layer 1.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.