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In today’s world, using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is critical to your business to help prevent cyber attacks. Passwords are an essential part of staying cyber secure. However, they’re not infallible. Cybercriminals can use various methods to guess, steal, and compromise passwords. But, multi-factor authentication can help. You can use multi-factor authentication to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to access your devices and accounts.
When hackers steal usernames and passwords, they can gain unauthorized access to a company’s network. MFA is important because it adds an extra layer of authentication that hackers will not be able to acquire when trying to log into your system. For example, when users enter their usernames and passwords, a unique code is sent to each smartphone. That code must be entered into the system before access can be granted, and oftentimes hackers will have your password but not your actual phone.
Even if bad actors have stolen usernames and passwords, they are unlikely to have access to the smartphone connected to the user account. Without access to the verification code, hackers cannot access the system.
In the initial shift to remote and distributed workforces, many companies were ill-prepared. Their infrastructure was not designed to support remote employees. Policies and procedures for remote workers were incomplete or nonexistent. IT departments or service providers scrambled to get employees online. In the rush to become operational, organizations failed to consider the implications of remote workers on cybersecurity.
The number of cyber crimes reported to the FBI quadrupled across all sectors during the pandemic. Part of that increase can be attributed to the rise in the number of employees working from home. For example, user credentials for logging into the company’s network while in the office may lack the robust security required for a remote workforce.
Since many remote workers may be using unsecured home or public networks, MFA can safeguard user credentials. It can minimize the opportunities for hackers to gain unauthorized access through phishing or social engineering tactics. MFA can also alleviate some of the burdens on remote IT personnel as they work to secure a company’s infrastructure and address the demands of a distributed workforce.
• Multi-Factor Authentication is more secure because it focuses on things that are unique to you:
o What you know: A PIN, password, or security question
o What you have: Your phone or a fob
o What you are: Your fingerprint, your face, your eyes, or your voice
• 2-Factor Authentication is a form of MFA.
o 2FA uses 2 authentication factors but is not as secure as MFA
MFA Adoption and Implementation
There are many considerations when adopting and implementing MFA. Organizations should recognize any technical, change management, and financial challenges to user adoption; commit to open communication, and provide resources and training to employees. Some methods may not work for every organization and, therefore, organizations should consider strong, yet user-friendly authentication methods. MFA implementation may be optional or mandatory, depending on business requirements and other considerations. Examples of multi-factor technologies include remote authentication and dial-in service (RADIUS) with tokens; terminal access controller access control system (TACACS) with tokens; and other technologies that facilitate MFA.
The adoption of MFA will continue to expand due to the ongoing remote workforce, the reliance on authentication for the use of cloud services and infrastructure, and the increase in account compromises and data breaches as a result of password-only authentication methods. MFA alone will not resolve all authentication challenges, it is a critical step for account security in mitigating risks associated with unauthorized access via credential compromise. So, don’t be a victim of cyber-attacks! Bluestreak Consulting™ can help reduce your Cybersecurity Risk and help you become cybersecurity compliant. Learn more about us and schedule a complimentary informational meeting.