For years now, multi-factor authentication (MFA) has been at the top of cybersecurity best practice lists. MFA has proven to curb data breaches due to compromised credentials (usernames and passwords). According to Microsoft, 99.9% of cyber-attacks on company accounts are preventable with properly deployed MFA. This is a statistic no business leader can afford to ignore.
Why is MFA so important?
It's not uncommon to read headlines like, "ABC Company Credentials Found on the Dark Web", or "Hackers Stole One Million Passwords." The sobering fact is that it is a routine practice for cybercriminals to use stolen usernames and passwords to penetrate a network. With MFA becoming so much more accessible these days, enabling it for cloud security is now an easy decision you can make to protect your company data. Here is a list of critical reasons MFA is a cybersecurity best practice, and why your business needs to enable it now:
1. MFA uses a combination of authentication factors to prove a users' identity. Typically, your user ID and password are the first factor. A token, such as your smartphone, can be the second factor. These two factors are always required before accessing to your apps and files. Recently, biometrics have become an option for verification. Today, the three categories of identity are:
- Something you KNOW (username and password)
- Something you HAVE (token or smartphone), and
- Something you ARE (thumbprint, voice, or face ID).
2. Your business is only as secure as its weakest password. Threat actors will attempt to gain unauthorized access to a single user account through a brute-force attack. This is a practice where cybercriminals attempt to guess a user password through trial and error using powerful software, all too often they get it right. With MFA enabled, the cybercriminal would be stopped right there, as they would not have an additional factor to complete the authentication.
3. Cybercriminals target privileged access accounts (finance, human resources, or IT professionals' teams). MFA is a critical step to establish cloud security assurance for data and systems.
4. A strong p@$$w0rD is essential, but we should behave as if the cybercriminals already have them (because they just might!) Enabling MFA gives peace of mind that if your CEO's credentials are compromised, only he or she has the required second factor in their possession. The C-suite is often the target of attacks and should be among the first to adopt MFA and champion its adoption throughout the organization.
5. MFA is an excellent cloud security tool for a remote workforce—no matter where employees are. Your workforce can access the company network from any location while giving you the confidence that MFA is only letting in authorized end-users.
6. Password fatigue is real. No one wants to remember one more password. In fact, 99% of employees reuse passwords across their business and personal accounts. MFA, coupled with Single Sign-On (SSO), can help increase cloud security. Together, the powerful MFA and SSO combination allows an employee to seamlessly and securely connect to different corporate apps. Also, if an employee leaves the company, an organization can quickly remove access to all business apps in one place.
7. Data regulators like HIPAA, GLBA, PCI, etc. require a strong authentication process before accessing data. From a legal compliance perspective, they may not specifically call out MFA, but it is a good way to comply with their security password requirements.
8. And finally, it's inexpensive. Of all the cloud security tools out there, this one solution provides the best security bang for the buck.
In conclusion, enabling MFA within your organization is a low-cost, effective cloud security defense measure to stop cybercriminals before they start. If it isn't in place already, your organization should rush to deploy MFA to obtain the cloud security advantages no business can ignore.
Multi-Factor Authentication Guide
Learn how Multi-Factor Authentication works and how it prevents password-based attacks.
For information on Multi-Factor Authentication and other effective cloud security solutions, connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.624.6737. Customers, please reach out to your Account Manager.
Mark Benton is the Director of Product Management at Systems Engineering. He has over 30 years of experience in Information Technology and is responsible for overseeing the onboarding of new products and services for Systems Engineering and its customers.