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What is Multi-factor Authentication?

What is Multi-factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an essential piece of security for any modern business. Whether you’re trying to meet compliance requirements or trying to increase the security of your business, MFA can help.

But What IS MFA Exactly?

Multi-Factor authentication (MFA) is a method of verification that adds a security layer to logins beyond just a simple username and password. It helps ensure that hackers cannot access your system even if one of your employee's passwords becomes compromised.

Multi-factor authentication refers to a method of confirming identity by requiring a user to successfully present two or more identification factors. These factors can be something the user knows (like a password or PIN), something they possess (like a hardware token or smartphone) or something they are (like a fingerprint scan). A basic example is when using an ATM; logging on requires the user to insert their debit card (a thing they possess) and enter their PIN (a thing they know).

Why Can't We Just Use Passwords?

Most employees are not actively trying to compromise security but you need to consider what you can reasonably expect from them given the vast number of online accounts requiring passwords. 

  • People choose WEAK passwords 
  • 80% REUSE passwords across all their accounts
  • 46% will use their personal passwords for company accounts
  • 6% use the SAME password across all online accounts

Passwords are easy to hack and provide only one line of defence.

Password guessing tools and technologies have become exponentially more sophisticated and automated to the point that manual password “guessing” is often not required. Even when it is, advanced algorithms, social engineering (e.g. phishing attacks or Trojan horses), key logging, and other methods are extremely successful.

If they manage to steal one person's password they can usually access your entire network. Once in, they can wreck havoc by spreading malware or stealing, deleting or corrupting critical business information 

Alarmingly, even if your passwords are strong, hackers can simply purchase credentials on the dark web as easily as you buy from Amazon. 

According to the 2017 Data Breach Report  "81% of data breaches involve WEAK or STOLEN passwords"

Business owners can unfortunately no longer reply on password security to keep their assets, account and information secure.

 

What Can My Small Business Do To Avoid Becoming A Victim?

To avoid becoming a victim, you need additional proof of identity beyond a simple user name and password.

Multi factor Authentication has been out of reach for smaller businesses due to complex integrations and time consuming on premise management. It was hard to implement without having a large IT team and significant upfront investment.

Good News... 

As a WatchGuard Gold Partner we are very excited to tell you about their recently launched Multifactor Authentication product ‘AuthPoint’ that delivers MFA that’s really easy.

AuthPoint enables:

  • Effective MFA Protection with Mobile Device DNA
    AuthPoint provides 3 ways to authenticate, and their mobile device DNA matches the authorized users’ phone for an additional identification factor.
  • Easy to Use AuthPoint Mobile App
    Users can authenticate right from their own phone!  No need to carry keyfobs or thumb drives; instead install and activate the AuthPoint mobile app in seconds.
  • Broad Coverage with Web SSO
    AuthPoint supports the SAML standard and our ecosystem includes dozens of 3rd party integrations – enabling you to require authentication before accessing sensitive Cloud applications, web services, VPNs and networks.
  • A Cloud-based Service

    Users sign in just once to access multiple applications and can add 3rd party authenticators for Facebook etc to the friendly mobile app. Every login attempt is visible via the mobile app which allows users to accept or block access from their own smartphone.

 

The even better news is that this product is pretty reasonable, costing under £25 per user per year.

We LOVE it and believe this is the sensible way forward for SMEs

If you want to find out more have a look at this video and get in touch. We are a WatchGuard Gold partner and can help get this implemented in your business.

Click here for video

 

 

 

Alison Stewart
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