Why does my business need Multi-Factor Authentication?
A robust cybersecurity strategy is essential to managing risk for any organisation, perhaps now more than ever. In 2020 UK businesses lost over 6.2 million to cyber scams, a 31% increase in cases during the height of the pandemic. 53% of these attacks were through hacking emails or social media; the second most common type of attack was computer servers (Securitymagazine.com).
The shift to remote working environments could be a strong contributing factor to this rapid rise in attacks. Malicious hackers have capitalised on increased opportunities to gain access to private systems and data as organisations focus more effort on the operational elements of remote working and cloud adoption ahead of prioritising security.
This rise in malicious activity highlights that businesses need to take their IT security policies seriously and implement controls that protect their users, data, and systems from a serious breach. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an efficient and proven way of boosting security and significantly protecting against potentially account-compromising attacks. Google research revealed that an SMS code sent to a recovery phone number helped block 100% of automated bots, 96% of bulk phishing attacks, and 76% of targeted attacks.
And it’s not just small to mid-sized businesses that overlook the risks. In February 2020, Microsoft’s Director of Identity stated there was just an 11% MFA adoption rate among enterprise cloud users. Furthermore, of the 1.2M enterprise accounts that are compromised each month, 99.9% did not have MFA enabled (RSA Conference). This is a very telling statistic exposing the risky mismatch between accelerated cloud adoption and a lack of aligned security practices, even in larger corporations.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
MFA is a security method that requires users to log in to a service or system with more than a single password. This could be entering an email code sent by text or email after entering your password or access via an authenticator app on your phone. Other forms of authentication could be unlocking your phone with your fingerprint or face. What makes MFA far more robust than a password is the fact digital users have to prove their identity through two or more pieces of evidence pertaining to something you have (physical access to a device like a phone); something you know (your password, hopefully!); something you are (biometrics like iris scans or your fingerprints).
Reinforcing your lines of defence.
Stolen or weak passwords account for 80% of hacking-related breaches. If a password is all that stands between you and stolen credentials and reputational damage, even if it’s an incredibly complex password, do you want to take that risk? MFA provides a layered approach to protecting your accounts and services, vastly increasing security without adding unnecessary complexity to your user experience. People are inherently optimistic, and they need to be reminded and prompted to observe good security practices and password hygiene, which poses a risk factor. MFA secures the IT ecosystem and its devices without giving people demanding tasks to perform or more to remember; it’s easily absorbed into daily habits and practices and ultimately saves time. This practice is even more vital in a remote workforce, where it’s far more difficult for IT to maintain standards and ensure users are compliant.
Reassuring for your customers; good for your business.
MFA reassures your stakeholders that your company takes cybersecurity seriously. And MFA is fast becoming a requirement of many frameworks. New business tenders can be time-consuming, costly and stressful, especially if it’s a high-value client with whom you would love to do business. It’s not worth being ruled out by their procurement department during a tender process simply because you’re not using an easy to adopt security practice like MFA.
You can further enhance security and access through Adaptive MFA, which allows you to define permissions based on roles, behaviours and policies. This means only elected users and trusted devices will be able to access certain types of information, instilling confidence in your clients regarding your approach to cybersecurity.
How does Multi-Factor Authentication work?
MFA can be easily integrated with your existing technology stack and works by verifying your users using unique codes that add a security layer. Once they enter their password correctly, a secure message is sent to a remote server that confirms access and sends out an MFA code. MFA is a flexible technology that works with more than just email systems; it can be used to protect every device and application on your network, so your team remain protected on their personal laptops and phones. This makes MFA an incredibly versatile tool that gives you plenty of flexibility in terms of how you apply it to your environment, and also allows for seamless integration into your existing IT infrastructure with little disruption to day-to-day operations.
MFA is a clear winner for all businesses and is a straightforward way to secure your IT environment, improve data security and compliance and mitigate the risk of a malicious cyberattack. As we’ve hopefully convinced you, relying solely on passwords is a risky approach. Say the unthinkable happened and hackers gained access to confidential customer data, you would be running a genuine risk of losing business and sustaining lasting reputational damage.
Are you confident in your IT security?
There’s no doubt that IT security should be at the heart of any organisation’s risk strategy, but you’d be surprised how frequently the basics are overlooked. Are you confident that your IT security is up to the mark? Our comprehensive Security Audit gives you an independent and in-depth analysis of your IT estate, helping you identify the vulnerabilities that could be putting your organisation at risk. And we can give you visibility of active and dormant threats hosted in your email system and let you know if you’ve been the victim of a data breach. Our Security Audit is available as an independent, no-obligation service.
If you’d like to discuss any of the topics covered in this article, don’t hesitate to reach out. Or, if you’d like to book a Security Audit or would like to to find out how we can help you set up MFA in your business get in touch today.