Multi-Factor Authentication, How it Works & Why Your Business Needs it

There are 15 billion stolen credentials from internet users ripe and ready for criminals to take their pick and make use of to take over anything from bank accounts to healthcare records and sensitive company information. What’s more, Google has previously admitted that hackers steal around 250,000 web logins every week.


Cyber-criminals have become very adept at compromising passwords and have many tools at their disposal to allow them access to private online information. Whilst using separate passwords for every online account provides some form of protection, there are still ways and means for hackers to find a way past your login. This is precisely why multi-factor authentication is highly recommended.


What is multi-factor authentication?


Multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides an additional layer of online security, without causing too much login hassle.


In addition to login credentials, users also require a second layer of proof that they are the genuine account holder. This second layer could be a one-time passcode sent to a mobile phone or email address, or a biometric login, such as a fingerprint or facial recognition.


The MFA process involves linking an item, such as a smartphone or key fob to an online platform. The user then enters a username and password into the system, which then connects with the registered item by sending a verification code or lighting up a key fob. The process is then completed by entering a verification code or pushing a button on a key fob.


Some systems will remember devices so that users don’t have to go through the multi-factor process for every login. Only when a login attempt is made on an unrecognised device will the MFA process kick in.


Why should your company adopt multi-factor authentication?


In 2019, 57 per cent of enterprises surveyed globally were using MFA. With employees of smaller companies having to manage on average 85 passwords, it is no wonder many of them are re-used, presenting a major cybersecurity risk.


Whilst it may seem like a simple process, according to Microsoft, MFA blocks almost 100 per cent of account hacks. So, if you are concerned over the security of your company data or financial information, it is well worth making multi-factor authentication a company-wide cybersecurity policy.


Protecting sensitive data is vital for many reasons, not least data protection compliance under the GDPR.


MFA is all about reducing risk. Across a landscape where more than 80 per cent of hacking-related breaches are due to stolen or weak passwords, adding a second layer of authentication to logins is crucial. A security breach caused by a weak password could easily lead to devastating consequences for any organisation, both financial and reputational.


With remote working so commonplace in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more essential for businesses to be taking steps to ensure the safety of their data.


What is adaptive multi-factor authentication?


Adaptive multi-factor authentication is especially beneficial in remote working scenarios. This process analyses the risk a user presents when requesting access to a platform. It looks at the likes of user device and location.


Where a login request is coming from a company’s premises, this will be considered a trusted location and may not request the additional layer of information. However, if the same user attempts to login from a public network, such as a coffee shop, uses their personal smartphone to check emails, or connects over an unsecured WiFi network, then they are likely to be prompted to provide an additional login factor.


Adaptive MFA is useful for setting layers of access control across different chains of command in an organisation. For example, certain users may be prompted to enter a second or even a third factor to access particularly sensitive information, such as customer information in a CRM system.


Ready to employ multi-factor authentication?


The most advantageous thing about MFA is its simplicity. It really is no headache at all for users to receive and enter an access code, yet the resulting additional security the process provides is exceptional.


It is simple to deploy, and easy to integrate with a wide range of applications. What’s more, it leaves IT teams free to focus their efforts on more strategic tasks.


If you are ready to take advantage of the many benefits of multi-factor authentication, talk to PC Docs. Our IT support solutions extend to MFA integration, and it is something we highly recommend as an IT security measure in the war against cybercrime.


To discover how we can be of assistance to your organisation, we welcome you to get in touch with our friendly team of experts.

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