Companies in today’s world constantly face shifting security threats that need to be addressed. Hacks, data breaches, and other attacks can endanger your company.
Multi factor authentication offers companies a simple and secure way to control who can gain access to electronic devices and business information.
What is MFA (Multi Factor Authentication)?
So, what is MFA? This type of authentication is a security tool that offers businesses more protection than they could get from a password alone. An MFA system requires employees to verify their identity in 2 to 3 different ways.
Generally, employees are authenticated first based on something they know. This could include a password, a challenge response, or even credentials. Employees must then offer another 1-2 forms of authentication. Requiring more than 2-3 authentication factors can overcomplicate the process without increasing security, so it is recommended that you stick to a limited number of factors.
You may be familiar with a number of different terms used to describe MFA systems. While the terminology varies, all of the following terms describe MFA systems:
- 2-Step Verification
- Advanced Authentication
- Login Verification
- Step-Up Authentication
- Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
Many of these examples of MFA are used in websites people visit throughout their everyday life, including social media sites.
What Are Some MFA Authentication Options?
Forms of authentication for MFA may vary. The types of multi factor authentication in order to gain computer access to an employee usually involve:
1. Something the Employee Knows. This is usually the first authentication step. The employee must know the required password, number pin or TAN (transaction authentication number) in order to gain access.
2. Something the Employee Has. Authentication can come in the form of soft tokens, or applications that generate them. Employees may also carry authentication devices, like key fobs or smart cards or one-time passwords that are time-based or sent through the SMS system may be generated.
3. Something the Employee Is. Biometric information may be used as part of multi factor authentication. Fingerprint or voiceprint scans can be used as a form of authentication.
Can You Use MFA Security in Your Business?
The use of MFA security across business enterprises has grown rapidly in recent years. As of 2016, more than 90% of businesses in the U.S. were using some form of MFA for security.
Some of these companies use company-wide MFA, while other organizations only require some employees to utilize MFA.
You can provide the best security for your company if you implement multi factor authentication for:
- End Users
- Privileged Users
- Cloud Applications
- On-Premise Applications
- VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)
- Server Logins
In the end, MFA can best prevent data breaches and other cyber security attacks if you deploy it throughout your entire business, instead of trying to protect only specific areas.
Why Should You Implement Multi Factor Authentication?
We’ve gone over what multi factor authentication is and how it can be used to protect your business. You may still be wondering if MFA is right for you. You can go over the uses of MFA in the business world right here to decide if this system is right for you.
Here are the top 5 reasons to implement multi factor authentication:
Reason # 1: MFA Simplifies Security
MFA can seem more complicated than simply typing in a password to access business accounts. However, you can actually use MFA to make security access easier for your employees. Multi factor authentication can be used to set up a single sign-in for your employees.
Single sign-ins remove the need to verify your identity for each piece of software in your business. Instead, users are verified once with MFA and then given access to all of the programs they need to use for a set period of time. This can save time and it reduces the overall number of passwords your employees need to remember.
Reason # 2: MFA Offers More Protection
Hackers have extensive experience stealing passwords. We see ever increasing news reports about hackers stealing thousands or even millions of passwords. These breaches represent very high costs to companies world-wide. This makes single-authentication with passwords very risky for your business.
It is much more difficult for hackers to steal:
- One-Time Passwords
- Specialized Hardware
- Biometric Security
Using these secondary methods of authentication can immediately strengthen your security. MFA can also help you deal with acts of data theft from ex-employees. Your employees are intimately familiar with your security systems and may be able to get around passwords.
MFA throws up a new barrier as long as it is updated to remove old employees, so they can no longer receive the secondary authorization they need to access your secure data.
Reason # 3: MFA Can Save You Money
In the past, MFA had a reputation for being expensive, especially if companies provided hardware devices to employees for secondary authentication. However, advances in technology have done away with much of the extra costs associated with MFA.
It is likely that most of your employees already carry their own smart devices, which can be set up to receive one-time passwords for multi factor authentication. An increasing number of personal electronic devices also come with biometric scanners that can be used in MFA.
Setting up an MFA system for your business may still be an expense for your company, but it can save you from experiencing a data breach, which can cost you in:
- Business and Sales
- Employee Productivity
- Customer Trust
Reason # 4: MFA Can Identify Cyber Attacks Quickly
Setting up an MFA system can reduce the odds that you will face a data breach or other cyber-attack. However, your company may still be targeted by hackers who steal passwords or other information. You may become aware of such a breach if your employees begin receiving prompts for a secondary form of authentication.
This can indicate that someone else is attempting to use a stolen password and being blocked by the multi factor authentication system. You can use this information to address any security issues right away.
Reason # 5: MFA Can Help You Comply with Federal, State, or Local Laws
Federal, state, and local governments have developed certain laws to address rising concerns tied to data security. Some of these regulations require businesses to set up MFA as a security measure. This means that protecting your company with MFA can help you avoid fines and/or legal penalties.
Protect Your Business with Multi Factor Authentication
Cyber security threats are a growing concern for businesses today. You can add to the defenses of your business by adopting multi factor authentication.
Benefits of an MFA system include::
- Increase Cyber Security of Your Company
- Make Security for Your Company Easier to Manage
- Reduce Costs Associated with a Data Breach
- Draw Attention to Potential Security Breaches
- Help You Comply with Legal Regulations
You can start focusing on setting up a MFA security system that will work for your business right now.