Imagine this scenario. You’re working out of town, and someone steals your iPhone. It is several hours before you realize it is missing and once you figure it out, it’s too late. The thieves have taken over your phone. They change your Apple Id and take over other devices linked to this ID. They empty your accounts linked to various money apps. Apple takes over and freeze everything. This actually happened to someone who owns a small business and runs much of it from his mobile device. It happened quickly while he was sleeping. One thing that could have helped prevent this massive data breach and theft was having two factor authentication on the account.
We have talked about two factor authentication many times before. It is a key step to help protect your private data and information and potentially help prevent a nightmare scenario like the one we described above.
Like nearly everything related to technology and cybersecurity, two factor authentication is constantly changing and evolving. And it has evolved into what is now commonly called MFA – or multi-factor authentication.
Two factor authentication is a method sometimes referred to as two-step verification or dual-factor authentication. It is a security proves and the user provides two different factors to “verify themselves” and is sometimes referred to as two-step verification or dual-factor authentication. The goal is to protect the user and the site or sites the user is accessing.
Typically, you verify identity using two of three factors. The first is something you know such as a passcode. The second option is something you have, such as a key – a secure token or a cell phone are good examples. The third is something you are – such as your fingerprint.
In addition to fingerprints, more companies are using biometric scanners for retinas and faces as well. But the most common method for extra authentication is typically a numeric string – with several digits sent to a phone such as a code that can only be used one time. The code could be sent via SMS text message or via a special phone app called an “authenticator. There are several apps affiliated with names such as Microsoft or Google.
Multi-factor authentication is self-explanatory. It takes two-factor authentication a step further and requires multiple methods of verification. Both two-factor and multi-factor are put in place to allow a user to gain access to something that requires security, such as an online application, an account, or a VPN. Using MFA provides the user with strong identify protection and access management. Using multi-factor authentication will help users and companies decrease the likelihood of a successful cyberattack and protect valuable data and information.
Now more than ever, MFA is a necessary precaution companies should take. Here’s why.
According to Microsoft, there are more than 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts to their cloud service every single date.
Fraud and cyberattacks are not slowing down. It doesn’t take much to cause a data breach. Just one compromised password can you’re facing a treacherous situation like the one we shared at the beginning. That is why the new standard is multi-factor authentication. MFA significantly reduces the risk of a breach. Adding in the extra layers of account security makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to break into accounts and steal valuable date.
With an extra layer of account security in place, it becomes much, much harder for cybercriminals to compromise accounts and access corporate data.
Multi-factor authentication secures business accounts by enforcing additional authentication requirements, or factors, on top of the standard username and password. And it works.
Microsoft reports that research shows MFA can prevent 99 percent of attacks that target users’ credentials – the most common being passwords.
There are many options out there that provide MFA for your company. Many will offer a free trial and interactive demos of solutions to help the one that best fits your situation. Here are some things to review when searching for a multi-factor authentication system.
- Is it user friendly?
Make sure you find a program that is easy for your users/consumers to use. The best option is an MFA with several options for verifying their identity.
- Does it provide adequate right coverage for your company?
Most MFA programs can customize according to your company’s needs. Make sure you find a solution that can provide security for all of your users and the different applications. In addition, choose a program that will be easy to use and implement in your workplace environment as well as for your customer/user base.
- Will it integrate easily to other apps?
Most MFA’s have integration built in to work with popular business applications. This will help both your users as well as allow you to manager your own security network.
- Does it allow for administrative control?
A good MFA program will provide your admins with more control over your data and applications that it provides admins with far more control over access to corporate data and applications. Make sure the solution you choose will allow you to have policies at several levels: per-application, user and group level and global level.
- Does it provide good reporting and data analytics?
One key aspect will be inf your MFA program provides good reporting and analytical stats to help you get a better understanding of your company’s security issues. Make sure the reports are easy to access.
- What is the cost?
As with anything, cost is also an important factor to consider. While many programs will offer “free” set up for you, but make sure you look at the costs of all the necessary features (such as reporting)
At Red Maple, we offer a software program for retailers that provides an extra layer of security called Clever Division. To find out more, click here.
What is two-factor authentication?
Two factor-authentication or verification is where a user is required to provide two methods of identification in order to access a website or an application.
What is multi-factor authentication?
Multi-factor authentication takes two-factor to the next level, requiring more than two methods of identification, adding another layer of security.
How effective is multi-factor authentication?
According to Microsoft, the latest research shows that MFA can prevent up to 99 percent of attacks and protect valuable data such as passwords.