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Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

A business network requires a number of steps for a full cybersecurity plan.

Cyber attacks on businesses are increasing; and the highest percentage of attacks is ransomware. Cyber criminals have discovered that ransomware is a very easy method of extortion. Most large businesses have an IT department with cybersecurity as a high priority investment. Most small and medium businesses are open to a cyber attack, as they have invested little in cybersecurity. Furthermore small and medium businesses use IT service providers who are working long hours due to the lack of skilled staff available in the marketplace and so don't have the bandwidth to address all the requirements of their clients. In addition, some issues of cyber security fall outside the portfolio of IT service providers and require the help of cybersecurity specialists. This article explains the value of one cybersecurity investment that will make a big difference for a businesses cybersecurity protection plan.

Two factor authentication

A business network requires a number of steps for a full cybersecurity plan

  • Staff training to recognize potential phishing attacks and an IT channel to report and check the suspicion.

  • Network upgrades that include a firewall and zero-trust end point security.

  • Migrate applications and data to the cloud for additional security.

  • A recovery plan in the case that a ransomware attack is successful.

There is one single item that has been proven to be very effective by many businesses to reduce data theft and ransomware attacks, and it fact the results are so beneficial that banks and e-commerce businesses require it by default. This item is multi-factor authentication (MFA) and is usually implemented as 2-factor authentication (2FA). MFA or 2FA is implemented by the network zero-trust endpoint security product.

Why is MFA and 2FA so effective?

The reason is that the user authentication process requires several steps before the user is allowed access to the computer system. For example 2FA is implemented with two steps;

  • Something that the user knows, this is a password which is typed in to the login screen.

  • Something that the user has, this is a mobile phone. After entering the user password a one-time password (OTP) is sent to the mobile phone and then entered after the password. The OTP is usually a number with 6 digits.

A common method of cyber attack is password theft. Once the attacker has access to the network either through a remote access port or a Trojan virus installed on a user computer, the stolen password gives the cyber criminal access to the data server.

The zero trust endpoint security adds an additional layer of security. The user still needs the password to access the server, but in addition the user needs a second password to access the network, and then the OTP to verify the users identity.

Zero trust security has the added benefit that the criminal has no access to the network without the access password and OTP. This prevents a criminal who has access to the network but no server password from hacking into the server.

Here is a quote from Microsoft’s VP of identity security, Alex Weinert , who said the following;

  • “99.9% of user accounts that are compromised don’t have MFA authorized. Multi-factor authentication is one of the most basic defenses against identity attacks today.”

All businesses will benefit from installing MFA as part of the cybersecurity plan. Until recently MFA has been available only to large businesses with a big IT budget. Now manufacturers like Authonet are making zero trust end point security products with MFA that are affordable for small and medium businesses.

The business staff may complain that the extra security measures make their tasks harder, but in fact it is no harder than checking a personal bank account. The benefits for the business far outweigh the extra effort. The addition of MFA may reduce the risk of a cyber attack up to 98%. Most cyber criminals who attack a business network will stop when they see that the business network has MFA, and move on to the next victim who does not have any cybersecurity protection.

If you have questions about installing MFA in your business network please call us on 1-800-213-0106 for a free consultation.

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