Multifactor Authentication is a Must for Small Businesses

Posted: January 31, 2024

Authentication is something that even the everyday user of a computer encounters in different ways. Take, for example, identity authentication. You can use a driver’s license, library card, or even a PIN number. Computers use authentication as a part of their main primary functionality, and it mostly comes in the form of passwords and usernames. We’ll take a closer look into what authentication is and what it does.

Authentication and How it Works

Authentication is basically the act of saying “Yes, I am who I say I am.” The three most common kinds of factors are:

  • Something you know - Like a password, or a memorized PIN.
  • Something you have - Like a smartphone, or a secure USB key.
  • Something you are - Like a fingerprint, or facial recognition.

A user will provide their credentials, which are then cross-referenced with the credentials that the system has stored in a database. If the credentials match, the user is granted authorization to access the system. Depending on the identity associated with these credentials, authorization can be granted at a variety of levels. For example, management will often have more privileges within their network due to the role they play within an organization.

Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

In an effort to improve security, many organizations have turned to a method called MFA, also commonly referred to as two-factor authentication, or 2FA for short. Both MFA and 2FA adds an extra layer of security to accounts that would ordinarily only need a username or password. This code is typically delivered to the user via email, application, or a text message whenever they try to access an account protected by MFA. The code is one-time, so it will always change upon further login attempts. This creates a situation where accounts can only be accessed if the user has access to the other account associated with the MFA settings defined by the user, securing them from hackers who don’t have access to both. This is the reason why it's so widely used in the business world.

Small businesses should adopt MFA for several important reasons, some of the most important being:

1. Enhanced Security: MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification before granting access. This makes it significantly more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access to sensitive information.

2. Protection Against Password Attacks: Many security breaches occur due to compromised passwords. MFA helps mitigate the impact of password-related attacks, such as phishing, brute force attacks, or credential stuffing, as even if a password is compromised, an additional authentication factor is needed.

3. Compliance Requirements: In some industries, there are regulatory requirements that mandate the use of MFA to protect sensitive data. Adhering to these regulations is crucial for avoiding legal consequences and maintaining trust with customers.

4. Safeguarding Customer Data: Small businesses often handle customer data, and protecting this information is essential for maintaining trust. MFA helps ensure that only authorized individuals can access and manipulate sensitive customer data.

5. Preventing Unauthorized Access: Unauthorized access to business systems can lead to data breaches, financial losses, and damage to the company's reputation. MFA acts as a strong deterrent to unauthorized access, making it more challenging for attackers to compromise systems.

6. Remote Work Security: With an increasing number of employees working remotely, securing access to business systems from various locations becomes crucial. MFA provides an extra layer of protection, especially when employees are accessing company resources from different devices and networks.

In summary, adopting MFA is a necessary and will help you enhance your cybersecurity posture, protect sensitive information, and comply with industry regulations. If your business could use a secondary layer of security (hint: it can!), our security services can help. Contact us to learn how we can help!

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