Guest Contributor

The Main Benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication

By | Craig Middleton

It is clear – in today’s digital era, cyber-crime is on the rise. Did you know that over 1.76 billion user records were stolen, leaked, and used in January 2019 alone? What is even more shocking is that a recent study now stated that many Americans are now afraid of cyber-crime more than violent crimes.

Cybercriminals are both innovative and sophisticated. They know what modern IT security solutions are being used by businesses and may work in teams. Hackers also have access to various resources and tools, which help them access your confidential data. This is when putting new and effective safeguards, such as MFA authentication, is so important.

Understanding the Purpose of Multi-factor Authentication

MFA is a critical and preventative security measure designed for organizations and businesses of all sizes, along with any person who uses smart devices daily. MFA offers an additional layer of security that helps compliment how passwords are used for protecting private data, making it more challenging for possible hackers to obtain or exploit personal data or to break a business network.

Authentication factors are specific credentials that are used to verify the system, entity, or person using it. When MFA is put in place, more than one credential must be entered before a person is given access to private data or a private, protected system.

Incidents like the 2018 Facebook security breach, which occurred and exposed the personal information of more than 50 million users, have forced many businesses to add a new layer of security to their platform. Since this time, tech-giants, such as Google and Twitter, have adopted MFA to protect their information and users.

Common Authentication Factors

When identifying an individual user, a combination of three different authentication factors is typically used. The first is the knowledge factor. This information is known to the specific user, only, such as unique passwords and usernames, PIN codes, or security questions.

The second is a possession factor. This refers to something the person owns. This could be an OTP (one-time passcode), smartphone, or smart card. The last is the inherence factor, which is exclusive to the user (i.e., eye scans, voice-controlled locks, facial biometrics, or fingerprints). Usually, multi-factor authentication will combine a minimum of two of the factors mentioned above. For a superior level of security, all three may be implemented.

Now that you understand more about what MFA is, it is time to dive into the benefits of using it.

Mitigate Legal Risks and Enhance Compliance

Besides data encryption, federal and state governments make it mandatory for some businesses to implement MFA into their standard operating tasks. One example of when this is necessary is if your business or organization gathers or uses any type of PII, which is Personally Identifiable Information. This includes financial information, information that makes someone identifiable, etc. These businesses are required to adhere to the statutes in place on the federal and state level to integrate MFA into their security protocols.

Create a Less Daunting Login Process

Some non-regulated businesses resist the push to implement MFA implementation. They fear a more complicated login process for both customers and employees.

However, this additional layer of protection will allow security organizations to help reimagine and redefine the actual login process used. All this is along with the enhanced security that MFA is known for.

Setting Your Security Expectations

Identifying your business’s security expectations and requirements is a crucial part of implementing MFA. You must consider your business model, industry, compliance regulations in place, and the data you gather, use, and store daily. MFA implementation provides an opportunity for your business to find and classify some scenarios that may occur in your business based on the risk level and figure out when MFA should be required.

Depending on several factors, you may decide MFA is only needed for specific, higher-risk situations, when using a particular app or database, or if an employee is logging in off-site or remotely. You can also use MFA to set up a limit on where someone can access information from. For example, if you have workers in the field and they use personal devices for work purposes, your information is at a higher risk of being hacked, especially if your team connects to external WIFI networks that are not adequately secured.

MFA and Your Business

Deciding if MFA is right for your business requires some thought and consideration. However, as you can see from the information here, it offers an array of undeniable benefits that can help make your business safer and more protected from the many nefarious hackers that are “out there” today.

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