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Multi-factor Authentication: What is it & why should we use it?

As an IT Provider, one of the key areas that we review for our customers is their security set up. From performance monitoring to managing security and backups, we look at each part of your network and systems to ensure that your data is secure.

With the increased amount of hacking this past year, one of the security changes we are making with our customers is to introduce and increase the use of Multi-factor authentication. Multifactor Authentication is often referred to as MFA or is in some cases two factor authentication (2FA), and provides an additional layer of security on your systems.

MFA is an authentication method that requires users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to an application or resource. For instance, if logging into email on a laptop for the first time, it will ask for the user id and password or send a code to a phone, or ask for an authentication code from an authentication tool.

Chances are you have had to use this for Microsoft 365, Apple or Google but you might not have started implementing this on your other systems.

Here is why you should use it:

  1. Weak or stolen user credentials are hacker’s weapon of choice. Depending on the research, 80 to 95% of hacks involve stolen, weak, default or otherwise compromised privileged credentials. MFA increases the strength of credentials and makes stolen passwords less fruitful.

  2. People tend to use the same password across multiple services and/or applications which means that if they get hacked on one system it risks others. If they use the same password for their email as they did for another application, it increases risk of hacking, using MFA balances out your risk.

  3. Small and Medium businesses are being targeted at a growing rate by cyber attackers as they may not have the same security requirements. MFA is simple to roll out even for small organizations.

According to Microsoft, an account is 99.9% less likely to be compromised if you are using MFA. For our small and medium business clients, we recommend that MFA be a part of their security protocols for key systems to increase security.

Wondering whether your security set up needs a refresh? Interested in an IT Assessment?

Ascent3 IT is an Edmonton based IT Support and Consulting company focused on helping small and medium businesses get the most out of their IT budget.

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