Why is the cyber security industry buzzing about multi-factor authentication (MFA)? MFA is an important security strategy for protecting your credentials, data, and overall company security. With cybercriminals constantly looking for new ways to steal passwords (whether to use or sell), it’s critical to implement a layered security approach.
So, what is MFA, and how can it help protect you and your business? Let’s take a look at what you need to know about MFA.
Definition of multi-factor authentication
MFA is an authentication method requiring someone to use two or more verification checkpoints in order to access an application, document, VPN, or online account.
For example, instead of simply logging in with your username and password, you’ll first log in with your credentials and then receive a text message with a PIN or verification code that must be entered before you can access the system. Depending on how your process is set up, you can also receive PINs or codes via a mobile app or email.
This added layer of security means that even if someone has access to your login credentials, it’s unlikely they will also have access to your text messages or mobile app, preventing them from unlawfully entering the system.
MFA takes cybersecurity above and beyond solid password protection and provides additional security critical to keeping your data safe.
The risks of not using multi-factor authentication
According to LastPass, only 26% of companies use MFA. This leaves a vast number of companies extremely vulnerable to brute force attacks and stolen passwords, which can be incredibly costly and cause reputational damage.
Over 80% of hacking breaches use compromised or weak passwords, illustrating the need to bolster password protection. Without MFA, it’s far easier for hackers to use stolen credentials to access and steal critical company data.
The average cost to an organization of compromised credentials is $4.37 million, clearly demonstrating the need to implement and maintain strong password protection procedures. Using an additional step like MFA could be the difference between data security and costly data vulnerability.
How to use multi-factor authentication to protect yourself and your organization
MFA is one essential tool in an organization’s toolbox of data security. As hackers become more sophisticated and the cost of data breaches rises, creating a multi-faceted approach to cybersecurity is an organization’s best defense. Here are some vital components of an effective security program:
Company-wide use of MFA
It can take time for employees to incorporate MFA into their processes, but providing crucial background information and training on its importance can ease the adjustment to a new process.
Ongoing password hygiene practices
Let’s face it – we’re all guilty of reusing the same or similar passwords, but that can open up a major weak spot for cybercriminals. In addition, recommendations have shifted to using passphrases instead of passwords, as longer phrases are harder to crack. And remember not to reuse passwords or passphrases across multiple sites.
Strong cyber insurance protection
You hope you won’t need to use it, but knowing you have protection with cyber insurance can give you peace of mind and strengthen your cybersecurity program. Cyber insurance coverage is tailored to each company’s possible risks, so it’s important to talk to a cyber insurance expert about your options.
Stay ahead of cyber risks by implementing a robust, forward-thinking cybersecurity program. If you have questions about cyber insurance coverage, the eSpecialty team is here to help – reach out to us today.