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Multifactor authentication, the security protocol that asks for more than one form of identification for a login into a secure database or protected account, exists to combat increasingly sophisticated hacking techniques.
And while it sometimes seems excessive, it is, unfortunately, necessary. Cyberattacks put private information and business assets at the risk of being stolen, destroyed or otherwise corrupted.
On the flip side of things, there is no denying that this heightened security measure can be an annoyance. In more serious circumstances, it can act as an unintentional barrier to accessing critical information quickly.
So, is MFA still the best way to protect online accounts? The short answer is yes.
Without it, anyone who has the capability to steal, guess or hack your password immediately has access to the related account. When another factor is required, like a fingerprint or an authentication key code, a second layer of security stands between would-be hackers and your private data.
These days, more and more companies are supporting MFA as a standard practice – and it’s easy to see why.
Let’s say that someone manages to steal security login credentials from one of your client’s C-suite officers. From that initial breach (without MFA set up) that person can automatically access your contact list, send out targeted emails phishing for more accounts to compromise, or otherwise manipulate employees into offering up sensitive data.
If an MFA system is set up, however, there might be a SMS requirement in the chain that would require the hacker to also have access to someone else’s phone – a relatively unlikely possibility.
How deep a company should go down the rabbit hole of cybersecurity and layers of MFA largely depends on their level of risk. This can even be looked at on a more granular scale, and different levels of risk can be attributed to each individual employee. For instance, you might want to require text-based SMS authentication for the contingency of your workforce that logs in on a home network, but allow those that come into the office to simply log in as normal.
The working environment, the type of work being done, and the rank of the employee can all factor into your thought process when trying to determine how best to protect your business. Executives should potentially have more hoops to jump through than more entry-level employees who are handling less sensitive data, as should those who use unsecured networks to do their jobs.
The bottom line is, multifactor authentication is an excellent way of deterring cybercriminals and protecting important accounts. Yes, it requires some extra steps to be taken, but at the end of the day, it is more than worth it. Our one caveat would be that it is important not to have MFA as the only tool in your arsenal against cyberattacks.
Talk to Access One today about what your other options are, and what MFA best practices we would recommend for you and your company.