What is multi-factor authentication (MFA) and how can it help your business stay secure? You may not realize it, but you probably use or have used two-factor authentication in the recent past. So, what is it exactly? Multi-factor is a method of controlled access that enables a second method of authenticating a user alongside the usual username and password. Google, Twitter, and Apple are typical examples of parties that allow multi-factor.
To successfully log into or access a device or software application secured by the two-factor method you will need two pieces of information readily available. You may have noticed that if you have an account under one of the above-listed parties that you have had to supply a phone number or separate email address when you sign up. If you login incorrectly too many times or if you have chosen to enable MFA at every login, you will receive a text message or email containing a key that is required to continue with the login process.
These secondary confirmation methods are usually always accessible to the user and no one else. You may have also noticed that included in many newer laptops and smart phones there is an option to enable a fingerprint as a login method. You can use this alongside the standard login as a MFA of access.
MFA can be implemented into your business or application to secure vital information stored on a workstation or smart phone and even securing software from unauthorized access. This method can be used for more than just emails and text messages.
Examples of authentication methods are finger prints, key cards, facial and even voice recognition. Other methods are sometimes used, but these are the most common. Authentication does not protect against malware, Ransomware, or social engineering. This type of attack can be actively prevented with the proper antivirus and employee training.
Authentication does, however, help to avoid unwanted access to computers, phones, and in some cases the physical place of business. This can become particularly useful in situations where employees take company laptops and smart phones off company property. This is a concern if there is sensitive information contained on these devices. Even if a workstation itself is not secured by the two-factor method, the information stored within it can take advantage of MFA.
Remember, even with the most advanced security measures in place, the weakest link will always be human error. Therefore, proper training for employees is just as important as MFA and physical security. Total Computer Solutions, can keep you up to date with all of IT’s best security practices. To learn more about a secure mobile device policy for your company fill our the form here or call us at 336.804.8449.