The First Step in Better Cyber Security: Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication

Ten years ago whenever the topic of cybersecurity was addressed, an image of the hacker in their mom’s basement causing chaos for your data came into view. However, gone are the days where the threats to your security are so simple.

Today’s cybersecurity threats delve deeper and attack nets are thrown wider. Cyber attacks today go beyond single targets and have become an expansive criminal business network. So how can we protect our information from such dangers? The first and best step is Multi-factor Authentication.

What is MFA?

Multi-factor Authentication (or MFA) is a multi-step authentication method that secures your data. MFA requires users to provide multiple authentication methods prior to accessing their information. These extra steps put up stronger barriers between your information and cyber criminals. 

By implementing multiple points of authentication, you are securing your information in a very customizable way. Especially now, with remote work being more commonplace, ensuring the security of your network and your employees’ access is essential.

By diversifying the way you secure your information, safety and security is brought front and center. MFA takes the weaknesses of passwords and other singular access points and enhances them with multiple authentication points. The single best way to stop someone from compromising your data is MFA because it challenges their way to access your information. 

Why use MFA?

Cyber hacking is a national security level, criminal business. 

Small businesses are the easiest targets for hackers to access because oftentimes the false belief that they are not the targets for such predators leaves cracks in their cybersecurity measures. 

Modern cyber attacks go beyond the everyday US business. Cyber criminal enterprises are working daily, hourly to gain access to the power players in the US and other countries. 

It is oftentimes nearly impossible for them to gain direct access to such places. And so these threat actors cast wide nets in the hopes they will catch smaller fish, alongside the big fish, and use those smaller fish as bait for the big fish. 

Cybersecurity is no longer about defending yourself against the little guy. It’s a big, bad, broad criminal organization. Many of these criminal operations focus on specific industries, but not specific people. They will target specific hardware that is used by a wide variety of businesses–including many small businesses. They will use any method they can to access data. And even when your smaller businesses are not the primary target, your data becomes compromised right along with the big fish. 

MFA adds security and peace of mind. Traditionally people think of using MFA for accessing their email, which has been its primary use for a long time. Now we are using MFA solutions in a much broader arena thus allowing for wider protection from a growing cybercriminal presence. We use it to security VPN access back to your office and for hosted or cloud based applications (ie. Salesforce). Some even utilize MFA to log into their workstations. All of these applications solidify a more secure work environment, adding layers of security and protection to your business efforts.

Banking records and accounts, private customer information, and more are at risk. If you’re not securing your equipment from such attacks, you’re potentially helping foreign powers access vital, secure information. And when you are caught in the net of cyber warfare, there is often no going back.

How does MFA work?

Multi-factor authentication relies on a multi-point system to grant access to your digital data. It requires the use of multiple pieces of evidence which prove that the user trying to access the data point is who they say they are. At a minimum, the requested pieces of evidence are

  1. Something you know. 
  2. Something you have.
  3. And/or something you are. 

Something you know

By providing something you know, such as a password or pin, you begin to create a security protection puzzle. But this alone is not enough. Passwords are seemingly the first line of defense for your information. They are also the most easily and frequently compromised. Oftentimes passwords are reused in multiple places, multiple times. Passwords are also frequently shared with friends and family. This leaves them highly susceptible to compromise.

Something you have

By adding on top of your password something that only you should have access to, such as a mobile device or authentication application, you add to the security layers.  This makes it more difficult for cyber criminals to gain access to your data. But nothing is impossible, especially when the threat actors are often national security threats.

Something you are

Which is why with MFA, adding an additional layer of security with something that you are – such as facial recognition, vocal recognition, and/or fingerprint – is essential. 

What’s Next?

One attack can destroy a small business. MFA is the single most effective way to ensure cyber security at this time, personal and business. If everybody does their part, it will become harder for cyber crime to occur. We will begin to see a more secure digital world. 

Make an informed decision about protecting your business and initiate Multi-factor Authentication today. When you’re ready to step up your cyber security, Advanced Business Solutions can help. We’re here to provide you with the ultimate security balance, so your business is safe and secure.