On February 25, 2022
Multi-factor authentication is a method of identifying yourself that includes two or more steps. Previously, just one factor was required to confirm identification online. However, the latest developments in malware and security vulnerabilities have changed our view of authentication. It is now necessary to have at least two factors in order to be authenticated without becoming subject to new phishing attacks.
In this article, we’ll define multi-factor authentication and explain why it’s important for businesses. We’ll also provide some tips on how you get started with applying this kind of verification for both employees and customers.
What is multi-factor authentication?
MFA, or Multi-factor authentication, is a security mechanism that needs multiple ways of authentication from different categories of credentials to authenticate a user’s identity for a login or other transaction. Multi-factor authentication incorporates two or more separate credentials: what the user knows, such as a password; what the user has, such as a security token; and what the user is, by using biometric verification.
Some examples of multi-factor authentication include password, passphrase, security questions, fingertip scanning, retina scanning, face recognition, email to confirm your account, one-time codes sent by SMS or received by a short call, tokens, and more.
Using technological gadgets like phones, computers, tablets, etc. daily makes our life simpler. We all use apps for different reasons – for entertainment, to connect with friends and family, or to meet new people. We can buy anything online using online wallets, check our bank accounts online, and track our health with several health and fitness apps. Furthermore, businesses cannot leave their data unprotected. As technology advances, so do cyber-attacks. Hence, multi-factor authentication has yet another use.
Importance of MFA in business
To ensure uninterrupted workflow, your business must use advanced software that are usually used by simultaneously by several users. Often, these apps are integrated on many platforms to make corporate data accessible to all employees, even those who work outside of regular business hours. When we add the Covid-19 pandemic and hybrid working to the mix, it gets even more complicated, right? Now, here comes a very important question: how do you confirm the identity of your employees when they want to access important accounts or data during and outside of working hours? – With multi-factor authentication! Let’s see a few more reasons why MFA is important for businesses.
Provides security against identity theft and improves password security
Cyber-attacks have advanced to the point where cybercriminals may pose as your employees and request a forgotten password for a specific account from your IT department. When we create a password for an internet account, we must stick to a few criteria designed to secure the accounts we are creating from hacking and unauthorized access. These rules typically specify a minimum number of characters, a mix of capital and small letters, numbers, and special characters. Even if the passwords or pins you’ve created are lengthy and contain a variety of characters, two- or multi-factor authentication is still necessary.
Unrecognized devices = higher risk of cyberattacks
With remote working set to become the “new normal” for many, it’s critical to maintain the safety and security of your systems. As companies adopt remote and hybrid working, employees often access their businesses’ networks using personal devices and less secure internet connections. Organizations no longer need to be concerned about the security of remote employees’ personal devices and Wi-Fi connections when using MFA.
Supports the work of other security applications
While antivirus software and powerful firewalls protect corporate systems consistently, they keep an access tunnel available for workers to get into the network. If an attacker obtains network access in this way, they could deactivate firewalls and anti-virus software and cause major damage, often without the organization’s awareness. MFA stops attackers from gaining access to your critical data while also acting as a warning mechanism, alerting you to unauthorized access attempts.
Protects your business’s reputation
Your business’s reputation is important. A negative reputation leads to lack of customer trust, which limits your organization’s growth. Whether you run a small business, a medium-sized company, or a large well-established corporation, multi-factor authentication is strongly recommended for all employees.
Getting started with multi-factor authentication
Changes in the workplace do not always go as smoothly as expected. When it comes to implementing MFA, the most important thing to remember is to have a strategy in place for how to integrate this new change into your employees’ everyday routines:
- Importance & awareness – you have to start with campaigns about the importance of multi-factor authentication and focus on increasing the awareness of cyber-attacks.
- Start with admin accounts – administrative accounts are your highest value targets and the most urgent to secure.
- The wider use of MFA, the better – start searching for all applications where you can implement the use of MFA – the more applications you have to use it with, the more you’ll be protected.
- Make it easier for your employees – offer a wider choice of MFA: SMS, biometrics, pins, one-time codes, emails as confirmation, etc.
- Create a high-functioning support plan – think of ways to resolve locked out accounts and lost devices.
- Monitor & measure – track security metrics for failed login attempts, blocked credential phishing, and denied privilege escalations.
We have covered the basics of multi-factor authentication and the importance of this technology for your business and everyday life. Hopefully, you have gained some knowledge, and the blog has led you to consider if your personal and business accounts are adequately protected. Being cyber-protected is not hard to accomplish!