Why multifactor authentication is so important

Why multifactor authentication is so important

When it comes to protecting data, slapping on a password is the typical first tactic that comes to mind.

But what if we told you that 81% of hacking-related breaches were due to weak or stolen passwords? At the same time, though 91% of people deem reusing passwords as poor practice, 59% do so anyway.

This is where multifactor authentication (MFA) — the practice of requiring additional identity verifying information beyond the initial username-password combination — proves valuable. Below, we discuss the benefits of MFA, and why everyone from business managers to individuals should get on board.

Multifactor Authentication benefits infographic

It provides an extra layer of security

Multifactor authentication is exactly as it sounds: a process of authorizing one’s access by having them provide multiple credentials (also known as “authentication factors”). The procedure typically requires three factors for access:

  • Something you know: Your username and password
  • Something you own: A mobile device or e-mail to which a PIN or code is sent
  • Something you are: Typically a retina or fingerprint

This extra layer of security stunts a cybercriminal’s hacking process, as a compromised password will be enough to access the protected account. Furthermore, PINs or codes sent to your mobile device (or email) expire in a matter of minutes, leaving the user with only a short window to access the account. This prevents hackers from taking the time to do trial-and-error guesswork. Retinas and fingerprints, on the other hand, are hard to obtain or replicate, further securing the authentication procedure.

An effective defense against phishing attacks

Phishing is a popular method used in cybercrime wherein a seemingly reputable party tricks another into submitting username and password credentials to a fake duplicate of a social media, banking, or email login page. The data is then sent to the hacker, enabling them to access accounts that contain a trove of information.

In fact, due to heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, businesses are more likely to be targeted by sophisticated Iranian phishing and credential hacking attacks. State-sponsored attackers aside, many lone wolf cybercriminals use phishing attacks to hijack accounts because it’s a highly lucrative scam with minimal risk.

However, according to Google research, the use of MFA on an account prevented a whopping 99% of bulk phishing attacks and 100% of automated attacks. This is because even if someone falls for a phishing attack, MFA prevents that person’s username and password combo from becoming a single point of failure.

Improved compliance

With the extra security it provides, MFA lets companies and their employees rest assured in guaranteed security compliance.

Every organization adheres to some level of local, state, and/or federal compliance guidelines, with some of these specifying that MFA be used in certain contexts. Such situations can include the management of extra-sensitive data (such as healthcare information) or when connecting to specific locations.

Through MFA’s improved security, a business can better mitigate common risks or vulnerabilities — helping them avoid any hefty fines or other penalties.

Streamlined access

Though it offers a more complex login procedure, MFA is actually designed to be efficient and minimally disruptive.

Each step is completed in a matter of seconds, with additional PINs and codes sent to you instantly.

However, if you desire an even more streamlined process, third-party apps like LastPass Authenticator unifies all your accounts on a single platform, requiring you to complete the MFA process only once to log in, instead of having to do so separately on all accounts.

Easy to set up

Lastly, a major benefit is its availability across platforms.

Most popular services already support MFA, including apps from Google, Office 365, and Salesforce. Typically, you’ll need to set this up within your account settings, though the process takes only a few simple clicks to complete.

Popular apps such as Google Authenticator, Authy, and Microsoft Authenticator secure all your accounts by providing you with a unique code each time you attempt to log in to a profile. Simply open the app, then copy and paste the code to get past security.

Keep your business data safe with quality cybersecurity. Our experts at Capstone IT Inc offer small and medium-sized businesses with advanced cybersecurity assessments, tools, and insurance to protect your information from common and emerging threats. Defend yourself and inquire about our services today.

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