Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective for protecting your business online. One of the easiest ways to prevent data breaches and establish cybersecurity in your business is requiring multi-factor authentication for all accounts and data. This small addition to your business practices requires minimal setup and training, but reaps powerful security rewards.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security process that requires two separate login credentials to verify a user’s identity before granting access to data, files, or accounts. For example, if you’ve logged into an account with your username and password, the next step may be one of a few options, including:
- A text message, phone call, or email with a link to click on for verification
- A time-based, one-time password (also called a TBOT token) such as a code sent to an app or device
- A hardware authentication device
- A fingerprint or facial recognition scan
If these steps sound familiar, it’s because you’ve most likely seen MFA in some of your online accounts without realizing it. As more people, businesses, and developers become security-conscious, MFA is gaining tons of traction online.
How is Multi-Factor Authentication Set Up?
In most cases, you’ll have the option to turn on MFA (sometimes called two-factor authentication or 2FA) for your regular account log-ins. In other cases, you’ll only be asked to verify your identity through another channel when you log into an account from a new device, or if suspicious activity has been registered.
Why is Multi-Factor Authentication so Effective?
According to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigation Report, up to 81% of cyberattacks prey on weak, unprotected, or stolen passwords. MFA is a first line of defence against these malicious cyberattacks. A stolen or decoded password will not be sufficient to grant access to an account when MFA is enabled.
Why Should Every Business Use MFA?
The cost vs. benefits of MFA are undeniable. In 2017, Canadian businesses spent an average of $78,000 on cybersecurity programs, training, and development. That’s a major investment! Meanwhile, MFA is free. It’s also simple to implement for most programs and hardware. While you may need a trained IT professional to help you create MFA capabilities in some online and offline locations, you can typically set up basic MFA tactics yourself.
The greatest cost is the time it takes to re-authenticate when you log in somewhere new, which, while a bit tedious, is a minimal investment compared to the thousands of dollars companies spend on other cybersecurity measures from outsourced IT companies.
How to Integrate MFA into Your Business Operations
Employee Policies & Training
Many Canadian companies have amped up their budgets for staff training programs from IT professionals, and it’s a smart choice. Even simple employee errors can create major vulnerabilities in a company’s cybersecurity plan.
It’s also helpful that most of your employees will already be familiar with MFA. They probably use it for personal items like banking apps and email logins. So, the greatest hurdle with training is showing people how and where to implement MFA logins, and enforcing them across the board.
Double Up the Benefits: Password Storage & Complexity Rules
Boosting online security in your organization starts with simple fixes for that first line of defence in a cybersecurity plan, including MFA. Another way to protect against data breaches and attacks is by training employees about password storage and complexity. Setting rules and guidelines for password setup and storage can be an effective starting point in any cybersecurity plan.
Staff Training Programs from a Managed IT Service Provider in Edmonton
If you’re looking for a managed IT service provider with options for employee training, backup and data recovery services, cloud hosting, and cybersecurity services, Alt-Tech has you covered. Get in touch with our IT specialists in Sherwood Park, Edmonton, and the surrounding areas.