Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): The Holy Grail for Small Organizations
It’s not surprising that small and medium organizations are increasingly exploring and utilizing cloud computing for their business operations. Cloud computing is a powerful technology that allows SMBs to improve their operations by providing solutions to complex situations. In a survey carried out by Microsoft, an estimated 78% of SMBs use cloud computing. This further highlights the prevalence of cloud computing amongst SMBs.
However, the growing use of cloud computing for businesses has made SMBs more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. According to data compiled by SCORE in 2017, nearly half of SMBs were recipients of cyber-attacks which are usually spread through malware, ransomware, and malicious emails. To prevent cyber-attacks, one solution SMBs can implement is to add an extra layer of security using multi-factor authentication (MFA).
In this article, you’ll learn what MFA is and why SMBs like yours should include it as a part of their cybersecurity solutions.
What is MFA?
MFA is a security system that requires two or more forms of identification before a user can gain access to a system. Also called two-factor authentication or 2FA, MFA is designed to ensure that third parties don’t gain unauthorized access to a system or account.
Typically, accounts are protected with passwords— usually a combination of letters and numbers— and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN). However, sometimes, passwords and PINs can be hacked easily or, in some situations, predicted by external parties thereby leading to a security breach.
With MFA, an additional layer of security is required for access. MFA comes in the form of a one-time password (OTP) generated by an MFA app or hardware keys, password, and fingerprint. MFA is an essential aspect of identity and assessment policy that ensures that system authorization and access are only accessed by the right personnel.
How does MFA Work?
Have you ever tried to access your mail from a new device and you were required to send “proof”? That’s exactly how MFA works. Usually, an app—such as Google Authenticator— generates and sends a one-time code via text or email before granting access to the user. OTPs are time-sensitive, and they’re sent only when a request for it has been submitted.
As cyber attackers continue to devise new schemes to attack SMBs, other forms of MFA include the use of biometrics. Biometric identification includes the use of fingerprints and facial recognition. Risk-based authentication software (RBA) is an adaptive MFA that uses real-time information for authentication. RBA is an intelligent MFA software that evaluates the identities, behaviours, and devices to set distinct personalization authentication methods.
Top MFA Software Applications for SMBs
As a business owner, you may be wondering what tools will help you implement MFA. Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered. Below are the top MFA software applications most suitable for SMBs is highlighted below:
1. Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator is a user-friendly app that generates a 6-digit verification code when initiated. One advantage of Google Authenticator is that it works fine even without data connectivity.
2. Microsoft Authenticator
If you’re a frequent user of Microsoft products, then you should consider Microsoft Authenticator. Microsoft Authenticator allows you to secure access across all your Microsoft-linked accounts such as OneDrive, Microsoft Office, Outlook, and others. It works for non-Microsoft accounts too.
3. LastPass Authenticator
It’s an easy-to-use authenticator tool that gives you the option to pick from six codes generated by the app. It’s affordable and available on iOS, Android, and Windows.
4. Authy Authenticator
It allows you to set-up and sync all your data across your mobile device, laptop and tablet. It also supports Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and Chrome browser.
Why MFA is the Holy Grail for SMBs
In a 2017 annual report released by Cisco, 29 percent of SMBs that undergo security breach lost revenue. Another 23 percent of businesses lost business opportunities after a cyberattack; 42 percent of these businesses lost more than 20 percent of their potential new business.
These statistics highlight why SMBs need to implement cybersecurity solutions and tools that will ensure maximum security. This is simply because cyber breaches affect the finances, business opportunities, and reputation of SMBs.
Here are 5 important reasons why you should implement MFA systems to SMBs:
- Security: MFA is basically “security 2.0”. With MFA, only authorized users have access to a system or application software. MFA secures personal credentials and other crown jewels in your IT kingdom.
- Customer Experience: Internet users are increasingly aware of privacy rights because of the recent spikes in the numbers of cyber breaches. Therefore, people tend to patronize only businesses that guarantee maximum information security. As an SMB owner, implementing an MFA system screams “we care about your privacy!” to your potential customers. That feel of information security helps improve brand identity and customer affiliation.
- Regulatory Compliance: For SMBs operating in the finance, health, and law enforcement agencies, implementing MFA is mandatory to ensure password restrictions. For SMBs operating in any of the afore-listed sectors, or any sector that requires MFA, implementing an MFA system means you’re safe from sanctions from regulatory bodies.
- Ease of Access: Unlike other complex security solutions that require high tech intelligence, MFA is easy to use, making it an attractive security solution for SMBs. Also, with MFA, you don’t have to break your budget to implement a security solution.
- Improve Login Process: Ever been in a situation where you struggle to remember the password of a particular app? That’s one of the menaces of passwords. With the sheer number of passwords people have to memorize, recollecting different passwords can be a step too high for many.
With MFA, business owners can simplify their login process to prevent their customers from recycling simple passwords— simply because it’s easy to remember even though they’re easy to predict. MFA provides security while also ensuring that consumers have easy access to their system which is a win-win situation for all involved.
Unlike large enterprises, small and medium businesses don’t have the luxury of revenue and brand reputation to withstand any potential breach in their system. Therefore, for SMBs, ensuring a watertight cybersecurity service is non-negotiable.
Cybersecurity tools ensure that breaches are anticipated ahead of time. Due to the complex nature of cybersecurity tools and services, you need the hands of experts for proper installation, guidance, and monitoring.
NWTechnologies is one of America’s leading cybersecurity companies. We have a certified team of experts that offers cybersecurity services across sectors such as health, finance, legal, and marketing. Our focus is on SMBs because we recognize the negative effects cyberattacks pose to SMBs. Our professionals are well-trained to help you analyze and choose the best cybersecurity solutions and tools tailored to your business needs.
Our wide range of services, which include data protection, penetration testing, cybersecurity audit, cybersecurity compliance, and annual risk assessment, are designed to help your business comply with security standards and help you navigate any security breach. Take a step towards your cybersecurity protection. Book a discovery call with us today.