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What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and How does it work?

December 12, 2019 | Posted in:

Data Protection, Compliance, Cybercrime, IT Security

Today, your applications and files are no longer all contained within your four walls. Your staff may work from home or is on the move which means they are accessing your company's data and apps from multiple locations and on multiple devices. To keep your data secure, you need to know who is knocking at the door before you let them in. Your business might require complex passwords, but in reality, your staff is most likely using the same passwords across personal and business accounts, and the cybercriminals know it.

What is MFA?

Multi-Factor Authentication, or MFA, supplements your password requirements by requiring a second layer of identity verification before granting someone access to your apps and files . It's a multi-step process that can reduce the chances of a cybercriminal successfully gaining access to your network even with stolen credentials.  

How does MFA work?

Multi-Factor Authentication is the concept of getting extended proof a user is whom they say they are. MFA uses three basic elements to prove a users' identity:

  1. Something you KNOW (password or PINs)
  2. Something you HAVE (token or smartphone), and
  3. Something you ARE (thumbprint, voice, or face ID).

Multi-Factor Authentication_Systems Engineering

If you combine just two (also called Two-Factor Authentication or 2FA) of the three elements, you create a multi-step process to verify a user's identity. This additional step makes it incredibly difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to your network, even if they have a set of legitimate credentials.

MFA is an effective cybersecurity tactic businesses are utilizing to enhance their cloud security strategies.  It's a low-cost, proven security solution your business can employ to prevent 99.9% of account compromise attacks and avoid a data breach.


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