The Rise of Multi-Factor Authentication
With data breaches increasing by the day, cybersecurity is an essential protection that businesses and individuals cannot afford to ignore any longer. Unless you and your employees take the necessary precautions, your company information and crucial data are at serious risk. Most companies, both large and small, are now understanding the importance of putting in place security layers to keep their data safe.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one such method. Using multi-factor authentication can help reduce business security risks. While many businesses have started using MFA (also known as MFA 2FA) to enhance their security, some still need to understand why it is needed. Let us, therefore, take you through what multi-factor authentication is, types of authentication factors and why your business needs it.
What is multi-factor authentication?
Although it initially sounds complex, most of us have used multi-factor authentication in one form or another. For example, when you swipe your bank card in an ATM and then enter your PIN, it is a case of MFA. When you sign into a website, and it sends you a numeric code on your phone, which you need to enter to access your account, is another example of MFA.
Multi-factor authentication involves two steps. In the first step, you provide a username and password, which leads you to the second step – in which you provide your credentials to log into your account. Your credentials can be any one of the following:
- A passcode – you receive a verification code on your mobile phone, which you need to enter to access your account.
- A personal security question – you need to answer this question to log into your account. It could be your place of birth or the name of your pet.
- Your biometric detail – it could be either facial recognition or your fingerprint.
MFA enhances security because you put in information from two sources. For this reason, it is crucial to understand that entering two different passwords in and of itself is not multi-factor authentication.
For example, if you log into your bank account where MFA is in place, you will need to complete the following process. The first step is to type in your user name and password. To complete the second step, you need to enter the passcode you receive from an authenticator app on your mobile phone. When you complete these two steps, only then can you log into your account. The additional layer improves your security.
If you are using the same device, the process of 2FA becomes easier for you because MFA will remember your device. If you use the same phone or computer to log into your account, the site remembers your device in the second step. 2FA enhances your security and makes it more difficult for criminals to access and steal the information.
Types of Authentication Factors
Before you opt for 2FA, it is vital to understand the types of authentication factors. Authentication factors can be of five types, which consist of the following:
Something you know – It is one of the most commonly used authentication factors, which includes passwords and PINs (personal identification numbers). Chances are, your business might be using this factor already.
Something you have – This form of authentication requires the use of an item, and you need to carry it on your person, like a smartphone, USB drive, personal identity verification (PIV) card or any other hardware token. It works by either verifying your identity or generating a one-time password that expires after use or after some time. You need to generate a new password once it expires.
Something you are – This form of authentication relies on biometrics. It verifies your identity using information unique to you, like your fingerprint, handprint, face, voice, retina, or iris.
Somewhere you are – This form of authentication mainly relies on IP addresses to verify identity. Organizations can limit the geographical area from where someone can access the system – it means you can log in only from the country where they are present. Another option is Media Access Control (MAC) addresses, where only designated computers can access the information and employees cannot log in from any other device.
Something you do – This is the least common authentication factor, where you need to perform some action to access your account. The action here could be a touch or gesture. For example, users can set up a series of interactions with a photo for authentication on Picture Password on Windows 8. You can either draw or click on the photo in a specific order.
Yes, Your Business Needs It
Traditional password protection is not sufficient to keep your sensitive company information safe because cybercriminals can use phishing to get your employee’s username and password. Email accounts are also vulnerable to phishing attacks, where criminals send requests to employees and ask them to change their password or share personal details. The email directs unsuspecting individuals to a website that looks legitimate, but the information you enter on it goes straight to the criminal. The criminal can then access company information through the details entered by the employee. If your company uses single-factor authentication, hackers can easily access your proprietary company information or personal customer data. But when you have two-factor authentication, most phishing activities become useless because the criminals need another password that they don’t have.
Noncompliance is another issue that companies have to deal with, in which employees try to get around complex passwords. But if you have MFA, it can serve the purpose, as your employees will have to remember only one complex password.
Here are more reasons why your business needs it:
- Hackers can crack 90% of passwords in less than six hours.
- Tech-savvy cybercriminals can test billions of passwords every second.
- Two-third of individuals use the same password for all their logins.
If you are using any cloud-based software or in your employees log onto a virtual desktop, your business should use multi-factor authentication because MFA can keep your data protected.
Multi-factor authentication does provide another layer of security to your data. But it is crucial to understand that MFA alone cannot protect your company data. If you want your confidential company information to remain safe from cybercriminals, you need to think about content security and mobile security.
And that is where DocuServe comes into the picture. Our content security solution helps businesses in diverse industries to keep their data safe. With DocuServe’s eServe content encryption solution, you can control your content to the last thread. Our secure document solution allows you to share content from anywhere, send multiple file types and rich media, set recipient controls, track viewership – all on the cloud, without software installation.
Our content encryption solution also enhances your mobile security. Many businesses these days encourage the use of BYOD (bring your own device). When workers use personal devices to access company data, you need more security to protect it. Our content security solution enhances mobile security and keeps your data safe. You can use our solution to protect your sales documents and marketing material, internal training manuals and videos, retail and wholesale pricing sheets, on-site and off-site inventory information, HR data and other internal documents, executive-level communications, and more.
Contact us to learn more about our industry-leading solutions.