Multi-Factor authentication (MFA) may sound complicated, but in practice it’s very easy to understand. Simply put, when you sign in somewhere with a username and password, your password is one factor of authentication. Multi-Factor is just the use of more than one method of authentication. You have already been using Multi-Factor authentication, possibly without knowing it. When you log into your bank account, Gmail, or any other type of account that you have set up and it texts you a PIN code to enter in along with your password, that’s Multi-Factor authentication. The system is simply using more than just a password to make sure you are the one who is signing in.
Simply put, when you sign in somewhere with a username and password, your password is one factor of authentication. Multi-Factor is just the use of more than one method of authentication.
Recent surveys show that 61% of people admitted to using the same password across multiple websites. Let’s be honest, that’s only the people that admitted to it. My guess is that way more people than just 61% actually do it! The truth is that multiple passwords are hard to keep up with. And the more you have the harder it is. Surveys also show that almost 40% of people write their passwords down on paper near their computers.
So what does all of this point to? In this day and age data is as good as cash money in the hands of hackers. The only real question is how much is it worth? Simply by using a second factor for authenticating your login, you can eliminate a large security hole for hackers to exploit. Maybe you are practicing good password management, but are the rest of your employees? Do they even care?
One of the biggest reasons people don’t want to bother implementing MFA is because they are concerned about the complication it adds to the login process. But today’s MFA has come a long way. Experienced IT teams can lower the barriers of complication using rules and policies that analyze risk and use enhanced security protocols only when it’s really needed. By looking at where a user login is coming from, what time of day it is, and even what application is being logged into, MFA can be used effectively to enhance security while still keeping user login simple, easy, and quick.
Author: Josh Cochran, President and CEO of Diverse CTI
Josh has worked in Information Technology and Telecommunications for over 25 years. He is an expert in business, technology, and entrepreneurship and currently owns an IT and Telecommunications company based in Oklahoma City. He also speaks on these subjects and many others at many engagements across the country.