Any time you’re dealing with sensitive business data, you need to take care to elevate security measures. But cybersecurity trends are always changing. You can’t (and shouldn’t) jump on every bandwagon that comes along. This article will give you the scoop on MFA so you know what it actually does to provide additional network security.
Multi-Factor authentication is all about making it more difficult for hackers to access your company’s sensitive data, email addresses, files, company credit card numbers, sign-in information and even personal information.
What is multi-factor authentication?
Forbes breaks down the essence of MFA this way:
“Multi-factor authentication is more complex, yet potentially more secure than two-factor, usually requiring additional verification such as biometrics to include voice, retina or fingerprint recognition, etc., which is harder for an attacker to bypass. Depending on the nature of the organization (i.e. maintains critical infrastructure), the risk could outweigh the cost and multi-factor authentication may be preferred.”
An example may help.
If you use an iPhone, there’s a good chance you’re already using MFA. When you use your fingerprint to access your phone, that’s an element of multi-factor authentication in action.
Of course, that’s multi-factor authentication on a consumer level. In business, there are all kinds of applications for advanced cybersecurity, including things like fingerprint readers.
The end result is simple—it’s significantly harder for a hacker to breach your data because the requirements for access are far more difficult to bypass.
How does multi-factor authentication boost network security?
There are multiple ways a cybercriminal can get to your company’s data. That’s why firewall protection, antivirus programs and other standard network security measures are so important.
Unfortunately, that kind of protection will only take you so far. That’s because the overwhelming the overwhelming majority of cybersecurity breaches happen, not because of a technical breakdown, but because of something a human being did or failed to do. If you don’t secure data at the human level, a breach is simply more likely.
Not only that, but password theft is alarmingly common and constantly evolving. Phishing scams, keylogging and pharming don’t take advantage of human error, per se. But the result is the same. Data is compromised because user passwords are compromised.
A multi-factor authentication method forces anyone accessing data to use more than a password alone. Even if users’ passwords are compromised, MFA means data is still safe.
Two-factor authentication vs multi-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is more or less what it sounds like—two pieces of information are needed for access.
For instance, at an ATM you need two pieces of information to access your account—your ATM card and your PIN. But multi-factor authentication ups the ante. You’re required to provide multiple (as in, more than two) pieces of information for access, and one of those pieces of data is typically something completely unique to you. (Think retinal or fingerprint scan.)
Multi-factor authentication and your business
Multi-factor authentication helps with security, productivity, flexibility, and compliance. It gives business leaders an effective way to protect their organization’s infrastructure and adds multiple additional layers of cybersecurity. While it’s never possible to stop all data breaches, it’s well worth your time to do what you can to minimize the possibility that your data will be compromised.
If you’re interested in using MFA in your office, we recommend reaching out to your managed IT services provider. They’re already familiar with your technology and your network. They’ll be in a position to help determine exactly what kind of multi-factor authentication will work best for you and your staff. At ISG Technology, we have partnered with the very best in the industry, Aruba, to provide you with the tools to create the best mobile workplace and prevent a cyberattack.