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Security breaches are climbing at an alarming rate – almost 20% per year over the last several years. In the early days of cybersecurity, a simple password placed on data could prevent unauthorized access. But that is no longer the case. Cybercriminals are getting more and more sophisticated, and they have ways to easily crack even the most complex passwords. To thwart these attacks, multi-factor authentication (MFA) was developed. Many people already use MFA in their personal lives, some may not even know it. Now is the time for your business to take advantage of this powerful security tool to help protect your data.

 

MFA adds an extra layer of security before allowing access to sensitive data. Instead of simply knowing a password, a user must have two pieces of identifying information to be granted access. This is typically done through something they know and something they have access to. For example, when you get money from the ATM, you are using MFA. You have access to your physical ATM card, and you must know your PIN before the machine will allow access to your account. So, unless a criminal gets both your card and your PIN, they cannot access your account. Simply having one piece of the puzzle does them no good.

 

While passwords can be easy to guess, especially when people reuse passwords across multiple accounts, MFA is extremely difficult to crack. In fact, according to Microsoft, MFA can prevent 99.9% of account compromise attacks. That should be an impressive statistic to anyone reading this! Considering how easy it is to set up MFA in most cases, the use of this technology should be a no-brainer!

 

Setting up MFA on your personal accounts simply requires the click of a few buttons in most cases. For example, you can enable 2-factor authentication on your Google account simply by opening your account, clicking Security – 2-Step Verification – Get Started. The prompts will guide you through the rest of the process. You can use either a text message or an app like Google Authenticator or Duo to generate your passcode to be used as the second factor in addition to your password. The secondary password may also be a phone call or a push notification to your device. Setting up MFA on your Facebook account is done almost the same way. Simply log into your account, navigate to Security and Login Settings, then scroll down to Use Two-Factor Authentication and click Edit. Here you can choose to use an authenticator app or receive an SMS text message on your cell phone each time you log in.

 

Another hot topic in today’s security discussions is the use of Single Sign-On (SSO). The point behind this is that it makes it easier for users because they can enter a single password and gain access to multiple systems. So, how does SSO relate to MFA? On one hand, SSO increases ease of use but has inherent security risks. MFA increases your security but makes the systems more difficult to use. There are many schools of thought on this topic, but there are a few ways that organizations are already combining SSO and MFA. One is by adding an extra layer of security at the initial sign-on. So, they may require an access code in addition to your password when signing in for the day. Another option is to require an additional layer of security before gaining access to sensitive systems. So, your normal SSO may gain you access to basic systems, while you might be required to provide an access code or biometric data before accessing systems with sensitive data. Whichever way you choose to implement it, you cannot argue that some level of MFA should be integrated into your SSO system.

 

If your company has not yet begun to implement MFA technology, then now is the time! Do not wait until a serious security breach occurs before you begin to explore additional ways to protect your data. MFA is a technology that most people already use in some form or another in their personal lives, so there should not be any large barriers to implementing this in your business. Make sure you balance the added security with ease of use, and you will land on a great system that greatly decreases your chances of a security breach. Get in touch with our security experts at 3nom to get started with the best MFA solution for your business today!

 

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