Since 2004, the President of the United States and Congress have declared October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month to help individuals and organizations protect themselves from online threats. Microsoft Cloud Services report that 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts happen each day. Luckily, there is one simple way you can enhance your organization's cybersecurity to protect yourself, your business, and your clients or customers from these attacks. You can do so with multi-factor authentication (MFA). This article will explore what MFA is, why it is important, and how you can use it.
What is MFA?
Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is a security measure that requires anyone logging into an account to navigate a two-step process to prove their identity.
Why is MFA important?
You may wonder, "why do I need MFA, if I have a password?" Well, oftentimes, hackers are able to get past a password. However, having an extra layer of protection like multi-factor authentication is important because it enhances your organization's security by requiring users to identify themselves with more than just a password.
MFA may seem simple, but it's remarkably effective. Microsoft says, for example, that MFA blocks nearly 100 percent of account hacks! This one tiny step could protect your security in a huge way.
We all use passwords to gain entry into our email systems, work databases, and bank accounts. We are usually asked to change our passwords periodically with the hopes that we'll stay just a bit safer. The truth is that, on their own, passwords no longer provide an appropriate level of security.
Most MFA systems won't eliminate usernames and passwords. Instead, they layer on another verification method to ensure that only authorized users gain access and hackers stay out!
A typical MFA process looks like this:
- Registration: A person links an item, such as a cellphone, to the system and asserts that this item is theirs.
- Login: A person enters a username and password into a secure system.
- Verification: The system connects with the registered item. Phones ping with verification codes.
- Reaction: The person completes the process with the verified item and enters the verification code.