What is Multi-Factor Authentication and Why Does It Matter?

Multi-Factor Authentication

Chances are, you’ve been on the receiving end of multi-factor authentication (MFA) many times – when you receive a one-time password to confirm a payment while shopping online, or you receive an email asking you to confirm your consent before you open an account online, or even when you open your smartphone with your fingerprint or facial image. It’s a quick and simple process – but it’s one that many businesses fail to implement in the workplace. Here’s how MFA is applied in the workplace and why it is so important.

What is MFA?

MFA works on utilising three things about a user in order to verify their identity and privileges. This system is often referred to as “something you know, something you have, and something you are”. For example, a two-factor identification system, like the ones that are often used to confirm a payment, use something you know (your personal password) and something you have (the one-time password sent to you by text message) to authenticate the payment.

How Can MFA be Applied in the Workplace?

There are several ways MFA can be applied in the workplace, depending on the kind of access control you want to implement and the systems that would work for your business. For example, two-factor identification can be used to enter a secure property or room, where the “something you have” is a key card and the “something you are” is a biometric scan of your fingerprint. For accessing networks, cloud applications or data, the “something you know” could be your private password and the “something you have” could be a time-sensitive one-time password the system generates and sends to an authorised secondary device, like your work smartphone.

What are the Benefits of MFA?

Data security is one of the single most significant challenges that businesses of today face. With cybersecurity attacks on the rise and criminals targeting small and large companies in all sectors, it is more critical than ever before to ensure your business is secure. With over 15 billion stolen logins circulating on the internet, criminals can utilise this information to hijack bank accounts, steal company records and financial information, and develop sophisticated phishing attacks that can cripple your company.

The reality is that passwords and login credentials just aren’t enough. With “123456” topping the list of most common passwords used in 2020, it’s clear that most people are not creating the high-security passwords that companies (and individuals) desperately need. Most passwords in the list released by NordPass can be hacked in less than one second, and while 91% of people know it’s a bad practice to reused passwords across different websites and applications, they still do it. MFA creates another layer of security that makes it significantly more difficult to steal this information and access secure data.

But do you need MFA if you have a strong password, utilise a quality password management application and implement a robust IT security policy through your workplace? Yes.

Even if your risk of getting hacked are low, it is still possible for it to occur. You could fall victim to a phishing or social engineering scam. Your device or network may be compromised by malware. Your password and login information could be stolen. Whether by human error or malicious activity, your security can be compromised.

In these scenarios, no matter how well you have invested in firewalls, antivirus software and other IT security measures, someone can legitimately and easily access your organisation’s data.

MFA puts another line of defence in place, ensuring that even if your password is compromised, attackers cannot access your device, network or applications without that critical second piece of information – a time-sensitive one-time password, your biometric information, access to your email, or a physical key card.

Effective, Multi-Layer Cybersecurity Solutions for Small Businesses

In order to protect your small business from cyberattacks, it is important to find the right managed IT services provider. At Milan Industries, we are able to design, implement and manage an IT solution within your budget, so you don’t have to expend essential capital on non-core business resources.

Our focus is on providing cost-effective, state-of-the-art IT services and solutions specifically for small businesses, from IT support and cloud solutions to network security and disaster recovery. Contact us and find out how we can help prevent your business from becoming a statistic.

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