What is Multi-Factor Authentication and Why is it Important?
Did you know that there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds? As the world continues to evolve and become more technologically advanced, cyber threats continue to emerge – putting our personal online information at a higher risk of being compromised. Think of your valuables that you own. You go to great lengths to assure that these items are kept safe, and provide multiple protection layers to avoid them being stolen. Do you do the same for your online information? Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a system that provides an additional protection layer for your accounts when logging in. After logging in with your usual password credentials, you would then be prompted to enter another form of verification to validate your identity.
Types of MFA
You may not realize it, but you most likely are already using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA can be either something that you know, something that you have, or something that you are. For example, something as simple as your pin number for your debit card can be considered an MFA. It’s an extra layer of security to prevent potential thieves from accessing your financial information with a code only you know. MFA could also be something that you have, such as your mobile device. There are MFA apps that you can download that will generate random security codes to enter as an additional protection layer after you’ve already entered your log in credentials. The last form of MFA can be something that you are, or genetically proves your identity. This can be things like a fingerprint, or voice and facial recognition. All of these types of MFA are precautionary measures that work towards creating a safer and more secure workplace.
Simply creating a complex and unique password just isn’t enough. Cyber criminals have the ability to test several password combinations in just a matter of seconds. In fact, 90% of employee passwords can be cracked within 6 hours and 65% of people use the same password for everything. We want to believe that our passwords are bullet proof, but at the end of the day, we have to admit that they could often fail us. This is why MFA plays such a vital role in cyber protection. It strengthens the security of your account, because if a hacker discovers your log in credentials, it would be unlikely for them to determine the randomly generated identification code you receive via text message to your mobile device. You might feel like it’s an annoyance to type in a second password, but in the end it will benefit you immensely to know that you’ve drastically reduced the chances of someone obtaining your personal information.
Meeting Compliance Requirements
By implementing MFA into your cyber security strategy, you will actually be satisfying compliance standards. Federal and state standards usually specify that in certain situations organizations should utilize MFA, especially when it comes to personal identifiable information (PII) or financial data. Even if MFA isn’t required, it’s still considered a strong proactive step towards strengthening your cyber security structure. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for example, doesn’t specifically require MFA but does have regulations that emphasize a robust authorization method to strengthen their online security.
MFA allows you to limit login access based on the user’s location. Employees who work outside the office or use their own devices to log in can potentially put the company at a greater risk of their data being compromised. With MFA, you can recognize when a user is looking for access in a location you’re unfamiliar with, and request an extra level of protection to verify their identity. This can help prevent hackers from accessing your company’s private information.
Password and identity theft are becoming more and more common today, and as they continue to grow, we must find ways to defend ourselves from hackers. A single layered security approach just isn’t enough. More than 4 million data breaches have occurred this year alone. Anti-virus systems and firewalls are vital components to your company’s cyber security, but without having a strong authorization process with MFA, you are leaving your front door wide open for intruders to enter. Incorporating MFA into your company will provide your business with an additional layer of security, and decrease your chances of being the victim of a cyber-attack.
Learn more about how to better secure your business with MFA by giving us a call at 833-KNOWS-IT (833-566-9748) or shooting us a message!
We’re happy to answer all of your IT security questions.
Written by Jeanine Hasan, Marketing Coordinator at QualityIP.