What is Multi-factor Authentication and why do I need it?

Multi-factor Authentication or MFA is an added security measure creating a higher level of protection for technology environments.

When logging in users are prompted to enter a code which is sent to a separate device or a code from an authenticator app.

Multi-level security ensures that gaining access to a password is not enough for hackers to access protected data.

Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report shared by Watchguard showed that 81% of breaches and cyber-attacks leverage from stolen or weak passwords and small business is the target of attacks 57% of the time.

Many small business owners don’t see themselves as targets of cyber-criminals.

Unfortunately, the majority of cyber-attacks are targeting small business as cyber-criminals recognise that technology security is not always of their highest priority.

Password policies may, at times be quite lax. Data and network security are not always a priority for small business making them the ultimate target for criminals.

There are a variety of ways that MFA can be implemented. It is important to choose an option that not only provides improved security but maintains a positive user experience.

Multi-factor authentication is all about using 2 of the following factors within your login process:

  • Something you know: a password, a PIN
  • Something you have: a token, a physical device, a key
  • Something you are: fingerprint or face recognition.

The impact of the pandemic has brought remote work to the forefront of many businesses. This requires even the smallest of business to adopt a never trust always verify approach. This may be difficult when your workforce is operating remotely, so implementing MFA means that everything is verified.

In combination with strong passwords, regular security awareness training and suitable business access controls risks to your network can be minimised. Each layer of security in combination with continuous monitoring will give you a secure network and an unhappy cyber-criminal!

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