When assessing the security of your business it’s important to cover all potential weaknesses, from the minor to the major, cybercriminals are always looking for new access points to your systems.  

Passwords form the backbone of business and personal cybersecurity, however, they’re not always as failsafe as you may imagine. You may be unwittingly providing easy access to your devices and accounts without realising, and in fact, 80% of today’s security breaches are attributed to password attacks.  

This week we not only explore the most common password weaknesses but also the simplest form of protection to secure remote workflows – multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA is a tool that largely removes the threat of password breaches, can block up to 99.9% of cyber-attacks and is the simplest way a business can protect users and data against attack.   

Flawed Passwords  

  

As the password is the first line of defence against potential cyberattacks, it’s important to ensure you’re not falling foul of some common mistakes. As passwords fall into the Single Factor Authentication (SFA) category, they can be utilised without an additional means of authentication. SFA provides the least protection and often compromises other accounts with similar passwords.  

If you opt to use SFA, ensure you are avoiding these mistakes:  

  • Re-using the same password across multiple logins  
  • Storing passwords in the browser  
  • Writing passwords on a piece of paper near a device  
  • Avoiding using common names, places, and objects  
  • Sharing your password with other people  

While these errors may seem incredibly simple, they are extremely common and are often the cause of password attacks.  

Optimal Security  

  

As mentioned, authentication comes in many forms. Aside from SFA, you can also implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). These terms help identify the amount of authentication required to log in.  

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a subset of MFA. Two-factor authentication introduces extra authentication to the username and password combination. Oftentimes by utilising something the individual owns or has access to. Such as a One-Time Password (OTP) or authenticator app.  

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) refers to any authentication using more than a password. For advanced security setups, MFA can call on many factors, such as:  

  • something you know (i.e. a password),  
  • something you have (i.e. a mobile device),  
  • and something you are (i.e. a biometric input).  

Quite simply, the more authentication required to access your account, the harder it is to hack.  

How Can MFA Benefit My Business?  

  

Multi-Factor Authentication can benefit your business in many ways and should be implemented across the board if possible.  

  • MFA increases the strength of organisational security; it is one of the easiest ways an organisation can protect itself, its users, and its data. By requiring extra authentication, you can eliminate unauthorised eyes from seeing sensitive data.  
  • MFA reduces identity theft and fraudulent attacks; cyberattacks are complex and have many moving parts. A phishing attack may often lay the groundwork for fraudulent access to critical systems. By enabling 2FA or MFA, hackers will no longer be able to access and compromise the data associated with the stolen credentials.  
  • MFA adds flexibility in the devices staff can use to access files; MFA can often allow businesses to reassess existing, and outdated, security measures. Allowing end-users the opportunity to access systems more flexibly.  
  • MFA can alert you to unsuccessful access attempts; many authentication tools can alert administrators or moderators of multiple unsuccessful login attempts. And better yet, they can often block accounts that are suspected of a breach.  

How Can I Implement Multi-Factor Authentication Across My Business?  

  

Oftentimes, many modern applications now offer, or even require multi-factor authentication. To enable, simply navigate to security settings to look for 2FA or MFA settings. 

To adopt a widescale MFA strategy, consider consulting our cybersecurity specialists – who can advise on the best strategy bespoke to your business needs and budgets. To learn more, visit Cybersecurity services that protect your business from attack. | Fitzrovia IT