In today’s technological age, along with keeping up with the latest trends in technology, businesses need to make sure that their cybersecurity and data protection measures are up to par. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to adopt remote working practices and utilize cloud-based platforms, reinforcing the need for better cybersecurity measures.
By the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020, around 36 billion records were exposed because of data breaches with information such as email addresses, names, passwords, SSNs, and credit card information as part of the data types lost in these breaches from various industries including healthcare, information, finance and insurance, and public administration. Research has shown that around $5.2 trillion is globally at risk from 2019 to 2023 from direct and indirect cyberattacks, but a means to avoid this number from increasing is by nipping these attacks from the bud and utilize better defense systems to protect data or access services.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a verification process where a user provides additional credentials to access sites, applications, or other resources. This can be seen as an added security layer to verify a user’s identity with additional verification factors such as fingerprints, one-time pins, and push notifications to convince a system of your identity to prevent the wrong parties from accessing data or services. MFA can be used along with passwordless authentication or single sign-on solutions as an added barrier to breach in case a factor has been stolen or compromised before gaining access to a device or service.
Why should your business use MFA?
Prevents identity theft
In 2020, losses from identity theft cases were estimated to cost around $712.4 billion and are seen to increase to $721.3 billion by the end of this year. Anyone can be a victim of identity theft attacks since attackers can use a variety of means to gather personal information. For instance, phishing emails are a means to extract sensitive information through email or keylogging where keystrokes on a keyboard are recorded to get information. MFA helps ensure your personal information remains secure, protecting individuals and the company or organization they may be affiliated with.
An extra level of security for critical information
MFA serves as an additional level of security to aid firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption technology so breaching barriers for targeted devices or apps is harder. Besides stealing data, cybercriminals can also alter data, transmit spam, or publish malicious content that can disrupt the services and operations of even big-name companies.
In the last year, over 65% of companies worldwide had at least one instance of a cyber attack. These attacks not only result in information leaks where data can be sold to other parties or on the dark web but can cause companies financial losses as well. MFA makes sure only the right people with the right credentials have access to key information, preventing breaches, security risks, and other disruptions in an organization’s operations.
More people are working from remote locations and have access to multiple devices which they could switch for either work or personal use. MFA makes it not only easy but secure to access business applications from outside the office environment. Adaptive authentication, an advanced form of MFA, can evaluate the risk a user can face when accessing certain services and selects the right authentication factors based on device IP, user behavior, or a user’s geo-location.
Stricter legislation with more severe consequences concerning data protection has been passed in various regions around the world. Businesses and organizations need to set the right permissions on data and keep classification up to standard to comply with various data privacy regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), ISO 27000, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and NIST guidelines, among others.
Keeps productivity high
Remembering multiple passwords can be a burden to some employees, and forgetting them may come at the cost of not being able to access the tools or resources needed to perform business-related tasks. Businesses can enforce stronger password policies but also allow employees to sign in through a means that suits them better with MFA. Besides being a more secure and convenient means of signing in to services, having MFA enabled guarantees employees secure remote access to a company’s network allowing employees to get tasks done as soon as needed.
Businesses are adopting more modern technology from corporate cards, machine learning, and AI-focused initiatives, but businesses should also make sure that the systems in place to protect the information and resources around these are efficient and effective. As cyber attackers device more complex and clever ways of getting into systems, businesses should also strengthen their defense against these attacks to protect not only the enterprise but their employees as well. MFA is not complex and can be rolled out without going out of budget ensuring simple and effective protection to users and the business as well.