The vast majority of data breaches have occurred through compromised authentication. Although having a strong password is an important part of security, this is only one step to securing your network and data. That’s why multi-factor authentication is so important and why security experts today are strongly recommending it for critical business systems.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a method of computer access control in which a user is granted access only after successfully presenting at least two separate pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism – typically of the following categories:
- knowledge (something they know)
- possession (something they have)
- inherence (something they are)
A common example of this is having a password and a one-time token or PIN that is provided via software on your smart phone or via a text message. Without having both pieces of information, a user would not be able to log in successfully. Many organizations today offer MFA, including Google, PayPal and most financial institutions.
We use MFA at Lanspeed and we strongly encourage our clients to look into this as well for their mission-critical applications that contain sensitive information. This significantly reduces the risk of an unwanted party accessing your most important systems and adds a layer of security that is hard to breach.
In my experience, many businesses aren’t aware of the many ways in which they need to protect their network. Check out our free Monthly IT Health Checklist for a list of the most important questions you should be asking about your network to make sure your systems are properly maintained and protected.