Tech Tip: What Is Multi-Factor Authentication? – Alltek IT Services
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Defining Multi-Factor Authentication

Online services from email providers and financial websites to social network sites offer the ability to enable MFA to secure your accounts and data better.

This is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to the existing system and account logins. 45% of polled businesses began using MFA in 2018, as compared to 25% the year prior.

Check out our latest Tech Tip video to find out why you should use MFA too:

How Does MFA Work?

When you log in to an account that has MFA enabled, in addition to entering your password, you must either enter in an added generated code or authorize login with a “push” request to a secondary device.

In the event your password is compromised, your account can remain secure as the cybercriminal is unable to authenticate the secondary requirement.

There is a range of options for generating the MFA codes:

  • Receiving a text message
  • Using a dedicated authenticator application
  • Possessing a physical device on which you must push a button to verify that you are the authorized user of that account

Microsoft Users Need To Use MFA

At the latest RSA security conference, Microsoft engineers told attendees that 99.9% of the accounts that are compromised each month don’t have a multi-factor authentication solution enabled. That’s why you need to disable legacy authentication protocols and update to one that supports MFA. Microsoft notes that doing has resulted in a 67% reduction in breaches.

They also provide a built-in MFA feature, called Microsoft Authenticator. Check out the Tech Tips video above for a walkthrough of its configuration.

Why Is MFA So Beneficial?

If you’ve hesitated to enable MFA for your accounts because it seems too complicated or too fiddly for everyday use, you should know that the benefits greatly outstrip the perceived annoyance.

The protection that MFA adds allows you to use your passwords for a longer length of time between password resets. If your service provider is compromised and your email and password end up in an open database on the open web, you will have time to change your password before your account is compromised.

You may not need MFA for every account you use—but for your email accounts, financial services, and work-related accounts, if MFA is an option, you should enable it. If it’s not an option, you should ask yourself, and perhaps the service itself, why you would keep using a service that doesn’t offer an easy step to keep your data secure.

If you’re unsure about how to implement a multi-factor authentication solution, don’t try to handle it all on your own. The Alltek Services team will help you evaluate your password practices and security measures as a whole to make sure you’re not taking on any unnecessary risks.

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