When it comes to protecting your critical corporate data from unauthorized hackers and cybercriminals, passwords are typically the weakest link. That’s why Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) has become the identity and access management (IAM) standard for preventing unauthorized access.

What exactly is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) you ask?

MFA allows you to protect your accounts by having to present multiple pieces of evidence – your credentials – that verify your identity for a login or other transaction.

This is how it works:

When you sign in to your online accounts - a process we call "authentication" - you're proving to the service that you are who you say you are. Traditionally that's been done with a username and a password. Unfortunately, that's not a very good way to do it. Usernames are often easy to discover; sometimes they're just your email address. Since passwords can be hard to remember, people tend to pick simple ones or use the same password at many different sites.

That's why almost all online services - banks, social media, shopping – are adding a way for your accounts to be more secure. You may hear it called "Two-Step Verification" or "Multifactor Authentication", but the good ones all operate off the same principle. When you sign into the account for the first time on a new device or application (like a web browser) you need more than just the username and password. You need a second thing - what we call a second "factor" - to prove who you are.

There are 4 possible factors in a multi-factor authentication scheme. They include something you:

  • Have- a physical object such as a USB stick with a secret token, a bank card, a key, etc.
  • Know- like a password, PIN, TAN, etc.
  • Are- a physical characteristic of the user (biometrics), such as a fingerprint, eye iris, voice, typing speed, pattern in key press intervals, etc.
  • At- a GPS location-based identity or connection to a specific computing network.

The added level of verification protects your accounts from being accessed by people unauthorized to do so. For this to work, you'll need to either use your phone to receive a text and/or use an app that will give you a random code when trying to log on to a protected account. Once received you can then enter and submit the code and securely gain access.

This way should someone try to sign in as you, they might be able to enter your username and password, but when they get prompted for that second factor they're stuck! Unless they have YOUR smart phone they have no way of getting that 6-digit number to enter. And the 6-digit number changes every 30 seconds, so even if they knew the number you used to sign in yesterday, they're still locked out.

Implementing MFA reduces the probability of data breaches. Check your application security settings now to see if MFA or two-factor authentication (2FA) is an option for your cybersecurity.

If you would like assistance or more information about securing your company data and network, give Meeting Tree Computer a call today, we're happy to answer any business technology and security questions you may have. We have been supporting hundreds of satisfied Hudson Valley team members since 1999.  

Give us a call now at (845) 237-2117. We’d be happy to support your team as well!