What is MFA and Why Does My Business Need It?

What is MFA and Why Does My Business Need It?

Cyber-security has long been a topic of interest for businesses across every industry, but with the pandemic wreaking havoc in recent months, the threat of cyber attacks is steadily on the rise. 

In fact, during the pandemic, WHO reports an astonishing 500% increase in cyber attacks as threat actors have ramped up social engineering attacks, such as faking coronavirus-related emails to steal personal information. What’s more, switching to remote workforces has also left many companies’ networks vulnerable. 

Cyber attacks have severe repercussions on businesses, including the pay out of costly fees in order to salvage both the function and reputation of the business. So how can businesses protect themselves from the massive increase in cyber threats?

Experts suggest implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as one critical security measure to protect your data. Here’s what your business needs to know about MFA and how to implement it:

What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?

MFA is a security system that verifies a user's identity by requiring multiple credentials to login to an account or device. In essence, any system with MFA would need at least two or more pieces of evidence to authenticate the access. 

There are generally three categories from which these two access controls can be selected for MFA authentication to be successful: 

  • The knowledge factor: For example, an answer to a secret pre-set question or a password.
  • The possession factor: This could include a text message or app on your mobile device.
  • The inheritance factor: Biological traits such as an iris scan, finger print, or facial or voice recognition. 

Why Is MFA So Critical to Cybersecurity?

MFA is highly valuable because it requires a combination of access controls that a hacker likely won’t be able to steal. For example, while a hacker could steal your password, if you have MFA that requires a password and a text code, the hacker won’t be able to access your account without both the physical phone and the password. 

Further factors are often also considered by MFA, such as the location of the device that is trying to access the system, to ensure authorized access. For example if a financial account has been accessed in New York City and then is accessed ten minutes later in Singapore, it will be flagged as possible fraud and notify the user directly. 

Because MFA combines these authentication factors, implementing MFA across all devices in your company greatly decreases the risk of an attack. In fact, according to Microsoft, MFA is almost 100% effective at stopping hackers from gaining access.

How Has Remote Work Impacted the Need for MFA?

During these uncertain times, many companies have had to develop strategies for their teams to work remotely. One major concern with remote working is that a lot of workers use their own laptops, tablets, and home computers, some of which may not have adequate protection. 

While implementing BYOD and Work-from-Home policies are critical, it’s not enough to simply limit Internet and data access to certain activities. Requiring MFA on all devices and accounts company-wide can help ensure that remote workers’ devices aren’t posing a threat to your company data.

How Can I Get the Right Multi-Factor Authentication Tools? 

While there are many MFA tools out there, it’s best to consider which tools are right for your unique business processes and programs. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach to something as critical as keeping your data safe, it’s wise to work with a Managed Service Provider who offers cybersecurity services and can consult you on the proper MFA tools for your company.

Prevention is always better than the cure in terms of cybersecurity, and implementing MFA is one of the best ways you can prevent cyber attacks. Even though hackers are working harder than ever to steal valuable data, there are simple solutions to keep unauthorized users out of your systems. 

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