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Cybersecurity is a hot topic for business owners today, and it doesn’t show signs of cooling down anytime soon. If your business has any connectivity with the digital world – or if any of your suppliers do – this is a topic you should not ignore. Today’s blog covers the crucial role MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) plays in enhancing cybersecurity for businesses of all sizes and industries.
MFA is a simple, cheap and effective tool to protect your accounts. It works on most devices, including your phone, personal computer and tablets, and can be applied to most online accounts. It’s a tool that we can’t recommend enough for businesses and individuals alike, and if you are not yet using it, read on, and you’ll be sure to check it out at the end of this article.
Protecting your accounts in this day and age is vital. If a cybercriminal has access to one of them, they’ll likely be able to spread over other channels and use that to his advantage. They might steal your data and contacts’ information, perform identity theft, fraud, open a backdoor to your business and much more!
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MFA means Multi-Factor Authentication, and this term describes exactly what it does. It’s a security protocol that adds one or more steps to verify that whoever tries to access your account is really you.
This is normally done through a verification code sent to the user via a verified channel. This could be a code sent to your email, SMS, through a phone call or an external app. By confirming that you have received this code, you are assuring that you’re the one trying to log in to your account.
You probably have already set up your phone or email as recovery methods for your accounts and maybe already implemented MFA without thinking too much about it. Besides verification with a code, some MFA tools utilise voice recognition, fingerprint scans or iris scans. More important than the method itself is ensuring that the verification channel is secure and accessible only by the account holder.
MFA can be used to protect your email, social media, e-commerce platforms, work accounts and even your devices. Most accounts with internet connectivity and require a password can benefit from it!
MFA is vital in today’s cybersecurity landscape because the standard account security measures do not offer enough protection. On most websites, your password will be the one and only barrier keeping cybercriminals at bay. That’s a big security concern.
Most people have the terrible habit of creating weak passwords that can be easily guessed and hacked. Plus, most people use the same passwords for all their accounts, so if a criminal obtains your password, they can access all of them. We have a guide on creating strong passwords that provide pertinent insight into good password practices.
Now, if you use a strong and unique password, you should be safe, right? Not really. Data breaches are increasingly common today, and they can happen with any company despite your best cybersecurity hygiene. When it happens, criminals typically steal huge lists containing users’ sensitive data, including passwords and login details. Criminals then sell these lists on the dark web, and anyone who wants can go and access your info.
Businesses could take several months to realise that their data was stolen and communicate with their users. In the meantime, people involved are especially vulnerable – unless you have MFA!
In this scenario, even if a criminal knows your login and password details, they will still need to verify that they are you and provide the correct code to be allowed access. So despite knowing your login details, they would also need to steal your phone or hack into your email to pretend they were you. This adds a new step to the scam and one that is difficult to bypass even with the proper credentials.
In cybersecurity, that’s the concept of layered security. By counting on not one but several methods to protect your accounts, business and individuals can make it increasingly harder for criminals to infiltrate their devices. Using tools such as email protection, web protection, backups, and training your users will help your business create more layers of protection.
There are several tools and providers of MFA available online today. When looking for an option for your organisation, make sure that you can establish a central admin to manage users and understand the recovery procedure well in case you lose your device. You might need to save a recovery key or backup your account to the cloud.
The first app we tend to use and recommend is Microsoft Authenticator. It ticks all the boxes and can be used even to protect devices. It’s a powerful and popular app, free for end-users or if you’re subscribed to Microsoft 365 and Azure. It easily syncs with your Microsoft accounts and enables passwordless login and Cloud backups.
We’ve also worked for a good while with Duo Mobile, another reliable app with similar functions. Duo also ticks the boxes and provides a seamless experience for users. The app offers a free plan, with advanced features for a monthly price. The app incorporates login via push notifications, and it’s very easy for users to self-register.
The key difference is that Duo’s API and integrations are usually better with other third-party apps, while Microsoft Authenticator works better with the Microsoft package but resorts to its essential functions with other accounts. So if you’re already in the Microsoft ecosystem, we recommend trying their product. Otherwise, Duo should be a reliable alternative.
Account security is a topic that can’t be ignored, and having a layered security strategy is a must for businesses today. Leaving your accounts unsecured could lead to severe financial and reputational damage, which can be avoided with the right tools and policies.
MFA is one of the several layers of security that you should have implemented in your business. A trusted IT partner can help you get your staff up to speed and protect your accounts. Not only that, but you can also begin lifting additional layers to cover your business from multiple angles and significantly improve your cybersecurity posture.
By having essential tools such as MFA, backups, anti-malware and monitoring instruments, web and email filtering, you’re already bringing your business to a much better place. And that’s just the basics. A specialist IT partner can provide so much more and help your organisation become more efficient, agile and resilient.
Book a Call today and learn how we can help your business thrive with tailored solutions from our industry experts. In this quick no-commitment call, we’ll seek to understand your challenges and provide you with a roadmap of how you can improve your results with tech.
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