Security is often second nature when it comes to physical spaces and objects. We lock our cars and homes, use alarm systems, and doorbell cameras are now another layer of home protection. Even our phones have security passcodes and thumbprint or facial recognition.

But when it comes to business data, adding an extra layer of security isn’t always at the top of mind.

Cybercriminals are targeting businesses of all sizes. A big name or higher profit margins doesn’t necessarily create a more enticing target, as many medium and small businesses do not have the same level of security in place as a Fortune 500 company. Multifactor authentication (MFA) is one way to level up your cybersecurity.

What is Multifactor Authentication?

Multifactor Authentication is a security process that requires multiple authorizations from independent sources to verify your identity. If your login credentials are compromised, MFA provides an additional barrier to your data outside of a basic username and password entry.

Previously known as Two-factor authentication, MFA goes beyond using two-factor authentication by using three or more means of authentication, strengthening the security barriers. If a cybercriminal tries to utilize stolen credentials, the additional authentication method would prevent access.

In general, there are five types of authentication factors:

  • Knowledge. Something the user knows, such as a passphrase or PIN.
  • Possession. Something the user has, such as a safety token or app.
  • Inherence or biometric authentication. Something like a fingerprint, retina verification, or voice recognition.
  • Location. Based on the user's physical location, limiting authentication to specific devices in specific locations.
  • Time. Authentication is restricted to a particular window of time.

Five reasons your business needs MFA

In theory, all usernames and passwords would be strong, unique, periodically changed, and never shared. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions, this isn’t always true.

Human error is the most common threat to a business’s security. By implementing MFA, an organization can defeat most attacks originating from compromised login credentials. While it is impossible to stop all data breaches and attacks, MFA is another way to avoid many of them.

Some organizations make MFA a mandatory requirement, but it is still optional for others. Many programs offer their own authenticationfactor, such as Salesforce Authenticator.

Attacks on organizations are increasingly complex,  and basic attacks such as email phishing are the most common and an effective way to gain access to an organization’s systems. There are five main reasons your business should implement MFA:

  • Extra level of security. Firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption technology are security basics, but MFA provides an additional level of protection. MFA ensures that only the correct people can log in and access your systems.
  • Prevents identity theft. There are a variety of ways for attackers to gather personal information, from phishing emails to keylogging. MFA protects individuals and the organizations they are affiliated with should their login credentials be compromised.
  • Secures devices. As remote work becomes more popular, it is not uncommon for access to be necessary across multiple devices. MFA makes it easy and secure to access business applications outside the office environment.
  • Ensures compliance. Businesses need to set the right protocols on data security to comply with various privacy regulations such as HIPPA, GDPR, and others.
  • Boosts productivity. Remembering many passwords can be difficult and time-consuming. Combining MFA with a password vault allows employees to quickly log in so employees can get to work.

Implementing MFA

You’ve probably interacted with multifactor authentication. There are several methods to implement MFA, such as

  • SMS Token Authentication.  Usually consists of a text message to a mobile device containing a PIN.
  • Email Token Authentication. Similar to SMS authentication but the PIN is sent via email.
  • Software Token Authentication. Uses an application on a smart device that provides a prompted switch or code for verification.

There may be some employee pushback in implementing MFA. Most arguments center on perceived difficulty and inconvenience. Also, change can be hard, but we have a few tips for successfully implementing MFA to reduce employee pushback.

  • Change management tactics. As with any change in workflow, it is important to utilize change management techniques to reduce pushback. Bring users in on the change early. Identify any areas of pushback and address them. Ongoing communication, adequate training, and follow-up after implementation are essential.
  • Couple MFA with Single Sign-On (SSO). Using SSO in conjunction with MFA allows users to log in and access various cloud apps.
  • Deploy MFA for all accounts. Sometimes confusion centers on why MFA is enabled on some accounts but not others. A universal application can remove any confusion. In addition, a vulnerability in your cloud security is reduced, and consistency in the user experience is boosted.

How Anteris can help

Our preference is to require MFA for all endpoints. Multifactor authentication solutions are a relatively inexpensive way to add an extra layer of security to your business. The question isn’t why you need to enable MFA, but why you haven’t already done it. We also understand that complicated systems may be unattractive for organizations. At Anteris, we can provide your organization with the tools needed to implement protocols like MFA and increase system security.

Contact us today, whether you are a current or prospective client, to learn how we can help improve security for your organization.