Security breaches are a daily occurrence, making headlines on a regular basis – and costly incidents are happening more and more frequently across all industries and businesses. Every business leader is charged with beefing up IT security and protecting both proprietary data and customer information, but network security alone is no longer enough. Multifactor authentication is one of many new layers of security that businesses must consider, to help thwart additional attacks.
What Is Multifactor Authentication?
Multifactor authentication (MFA), sometimes called two-factor authentication, is a crucial security layer requiring more than one authentication method to verify a user’s identity. It blocks all access to a device, network, or terminal unless two of three factors are provided: something you have, something you know, or something you are. These independent identity authorizations include: a password, a security token, and often, a biometric verification.
How Multifactor Authentication Works
MFA makes it virtually impossible for someone to hack into a user’s devices, the network, or a database. Most consumers use multifactor authorization all the time without realizing it. When you use a bank’s ATM machine, you swipe a card and enter a pin. That is multifactor authorization. But businesses need to begin recognizing the significance of containing security breaches by implementing MFA as a part of their overall IT security strategy.
The combinations for multifactor authentication are limitless:
Card swipe + pin
- Username + password + texted access code
- Card swipe + fingerprint + security question or password
Cyber Attacks Costs Everyone
The average cost of a data breach in Canada is $6 million, and half of all cyber-attacks on Canadian businesses are successful, with more than 51 percent of businesses reporting losses. Multifactor authentication technology should not replace existing security (firewalls, malware detection, hosted email exchange, offsite backup and recovery), but instead should be used to augment security, making it far more difficult for anyone other than the intended party to access sensitive information.
Combined with other security measures, such as stronger employee passwords, robust email security, and secure hosted services, multifactor authentication is an essential element of your organization’s overall security efforts. MFA can prevent hackers from achieving a brute force entry into your network. It’s much harder to breach a network using a fingerprint or a one-time-use access code texted to a single mobile device than it is to guess an employee’s password that is likely written on a sticky note under their keyboard.
As technology fundamentally changes how we do business, serve customers, and meet compliance standards, business leaders must re-evaluate whether their current IT strategies are meeting their needs. The ITeam is committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive IT strategies that keep them competitive. Contact us to learn more.