Be it at home, at work, or in your personal, social environment, increased security while using online services is a practice that simply cannot be ignored these days. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) - also known as two-factor authentication - is a solution for Internet safety and must be implemented by all businesses and individuals.
What is MFA?
Multi-factor authentication requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource, such as an application, online account, or VPN. Rather than just asking for a username or password, MFA requires one or more additional verification factors, therefore decreasing the likelihood of a successful cyber attack.
These additional verification factors are three factors that uniquely pertain to you; they include something you have (possession), something you know (password), and something that you are (biometric). With MFA, you need to satisfy only two out of the three factors. For example, you can have an authentication application on your device (password protection) and a third-party authenticator (biometric protection).
How Does MFA Work?
One of the most common MFA factors that users encounter is a one-time password (OTP): a 4-8-digit code that you receive via email, SMS, or on a mobile application, such as Google Authenticator and Duo Mobile. This code actively changes each time there is a request and is only sent to an address or device that is approved by the user.
Believe it or not, you are already familiar with countless organizations that implement multi-factor authentication. From massive corporations such as Apple and Amazon to Fortune 500 companies such as Target and U.S. Bank to SMBs such as yours truly – VC3 – we all implement MFA for additional business, customer, and employee protection; even social media platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn include and encourage MFA.
Most industries have compliance requirements, such as HIPAA and FINRA, which automatically enforce multi-factor authentication to be applied and used on the network. In most cases, you do need to enable it yourself in your user account settings, but there is no cause for concern. All end-user account adjustments are easy, quick, and secure, and provide you with a clear explanation, along with multiple options to ensure complete account security. For example, let’s say you’d like to increase the protection of your Facebook account:
- In your profile, locate Settings & Privacy, then click on Settings.
- Within Account Settings, scroll down to Security and click on Security and Login.
- You’re here – now, you’re able to implement multi-factor authentication, along with various additional options for extra security!
- Now, repeat this process for all your business and personal accounts!
In other cases, such as for business, you can add MFA to your network to ensure that those logging into the network locally or remotely can be provided an additional level of protection.
MFA Shouldn’t Be an Option
While the threat of cyber security attacks and hacker exploits isn’t going away, the ability to protect your business, yourself, and even others, is there: it is simple, achievable, and above all, necessary. Whether it is for business or personal use, but hopefully for both, multi-factor authentication is a service that you should use to add an extra layer of protection.
If you’d like to learn more about MFA and compounding our security, or you simply need help in determining what are the optimal protection services for you, VC3 is here to help!