What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?


Protecting your network both externally and internally requires more controls than a traditional perimeter security model and must rely on trust in user identity and device health. Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) will help secure a new identity-based perimeter for your business.


For a strong identity perimeter, you and your staff must use MFA.  It protects against phishing, social engineering and password brute-force attacks. It secures your logins from attackers who work to exploit your weak credentials.


Did you know that 63% of confirmed data breaches involve weak, default, or stolen passwords?


When your employees try to access an application, the first step they should take is to confirm their identity using Multi-Factor Authentication.  MFA strengthens access security by requiring more than one method (also referred to as a factor) to verify your identity. These factors can include something you know – like a username and password, plus something you have – like a smartphone app to approve authentication requests.


For example, if I want to log onto my desktop, it prompts me for my login name.  Then it asks for my passcode. (This is two-factor authentication or 2FA.). But, my boss wants me to use another level of security, so a number gets sent via a text message to my smartphone. This makes 3 different identifiers, and the MFA is complete.



Why Is MFA So Important?


With the growing use of mobile devices and cloud-based applications, it’s becoming more difficult to protect your company’s data and network. Cracking a user’s identity is a popular attack vector for hackers.  This is why Multi-Factor Authentication is now a growing trend.


Today’s hackers use sophisticated password-cracking tools that take a set of known passwords and put them through a hashing algorithm. These are compared to your passwords in lightning-fast speed to find them from a database.  When a match is discovered, the hacker gets in.


Some people only use one form of authentication to gain access to applications and online accounts.  Plus, many employees work with mobile devices that are easily lost or stolen. This is just asking for trouble. Hackers and criminals can easily break into accounts based on a single authentication factor.


Both MFA and 2FA include identifiers for something you know along with another way to authenticate who you are. If the device or application you want to use only asks for one identifier (like the name of your dog, etc.) someone could guess this.


Do You Need MFA For Mobile Applications?


Yes, both onsite and mobile authentications are necessary. Today, people are using so many different types of mobile applications, including smart watches.  Your employees can quickly verify their identity with today’s mobile multi-factor authentication solutions.


You must be able to generate the MFA for your employees wherever they are.  These tools can also generate time-based, one-time passcodes (TOTP). Your employees key-in the login prompt they receive to complete their multi-factor authentication.


What If Our Employees Don’t Have Smartphones And Use Older Flip Phones?


Look for an MFA solution that will call their cellphone, landline, or car phone. When your employee receives the call, all they have to do is press any key on the keypad to provide their authentication.


Your administrator should be able to configure the sender’s phone number and specific keys to press to approve and deny authentication and also report fraud if needed.


Are There MFA Solutions For Businesses Like Ours?


Yes, and the solution must be easy to deploy and have the capability to protect all of your users with basic access controls, advanced administrative management, and user provisioning. Plus, it should provide you with an overview of your overall device security hygiene.


  • Look for an MFA Provider who will make authentication easy for you and your staff. Your MFA provider should be able to ensure every point of access is protected and easily integrates with your on-premises, cloud-based, and web-based applications.


  • Your MFA Provider should provide a secure single sign-on solution that makes it easy for you and your employees to access all of their cloud applications by logging in just once to a web portal.


This will provide improved productivity and a better user experience than having to do this manually.  Your users will only need to visit one dashboard to access their applications and can do this from their desktop, laptop, or mobile device browser.


With fewer passwords to remember this increases your employees’ productivity and reduces their frustration trying to keep track of codes and tokens. Doing this will protect your organization and reduce your risk of a data breach.  And if you must meet regulatory standards, you know that compliance is essential.


Want To Learn More About An MFA Solution For Your Business in South Bend, Goshen, Elkhart or anywhere in Michiana?  Contact the MFA experts at Blue Star IT Services & Solutions.


In the meantime, stay up-to-date about what’s important in the world of IT and how it impacts your business.  Visit our Media Center.  Here are a few examples of some articles to get you started:


Unified Endpoint Management (UEM): Can This Help Streamline Cloud Security?

What Are the Top 10 Phishing Email Subject Lines from Q2 2018?

Fix Your Email Issues With One Easy Checklist


Published on 13th September 2018 by Jon Morningstar

CyberSecurity Must-Do Checklist For Businesses

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