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Multi-Factor Authentication: Why Your Business Needs It

Reaching for your phone to confirm your identity, or clicking a link in an email to verify you are who you say you are, is time-consuming and annoying.

Written by Adam Bovan

August 2018

We’ve sent a 4-digit code to number 07*******25.

Yes, multi-factor authentication can seem like a bugbear.

Reaching for your phone to confirm your identity, or clicking a link in an email to verify you are who you say you are, is time-consuming and annoying.

However, we’re going to be the bearer of bad news and tell you that multi-factor (also known as two-factor) authentication is a necessary evil.

Passwords are a great first step to ensuring your security when using apps and services. But, MF offers an extra layer of protection that decreases your risk of a serious data breach.

Think of layers of security like sieves: the more you stack on top of each other, the less water (or cybercriminals) can slip through.

Today, we’ve put together a short guide to MF authentication, including its importance in the modern workplace and how you can start to implement it across your business.

What is multi-factor authentication?

Basically, MF requires users to verify their identity in addition to entering login details.

For example, Twitter may ask you to type in a code that has been sent to the mobile connected to your account. This is the most common way of two-factor authentication.

Alternative methods – such as biometric scanners that use your fingerprint or facial recognition – are also becoming increasingly popular.

It’s essentially a way of double (or triple) checking that you are who you say you are.

Usually, you can adjust MF settings to have the extra step of verification every day, every week or every month.

Why is two-factor authentication important?

For many, this way of logging into their personal accounts can sound like a complete hassle.

Quite frankly, you already get muddled with passwords and you just want to get on with your day and read your emails.

We get it.

However, a couple of extra seconds spent to confirm your identity could save you the stress, damage and cost of a data breach in the future.

As we mentioned, passwords are a good way of protecting your accounts, but they do have their weaknesses.

Passwords can be cracked and shared easily. Believe it or not, hackers guess passwords by using social media to collect details about your life. For example, your favourite football team, your maiden name or your pets names.

Multi-factor has your back even when your password has been breached.

How do we roll out MF authentication?

Be prepared to be greeted with some resistance when you announce that you’re rolling out MF across your business.

From an administrative point of view, implementing two-factor authentication is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is adjust the security settings in the software and services you use. Check out MF for things like emails, shared drives, cloud storage and social media if that’s a part of your business too.

As for convincing your team to co-operate, that’s another matter. Perhaps hold a meeting and send out regular informative communications to remind staff of the importance of security. MF can go hand-in-hand with creating good password habits and looking out for the latest phishing scams.

If you are after more advice about multi-factor authentication, please get in touch today.

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