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What it is, and why you need it

When it comes to data security, multi-factor authentication is a must. That's why, in our last installment of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month topics, we're talking about this essential cybersecurity tool, what it is, what it can do for you and why you need it to protect your business.

Defining multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication utilizes two or more verification factors to ensure the identity of a user before granting them access. Two-factor authentication is a subset of that where you need only two verification factors. As a user, that means you need to log in to an account using a password as well another form of verification. Some such forms are things you know, such as a pin or password, things you have like a smartphone or badge, or thing you are, or biometrics The result is your accounts have a higher level of security, as multi-factor authentication makes it much more difficult for hackers and cybercriminals to access your accounts, steal your data, or gain entry to your company's network.

Why you need two-factor authentication or more

Multi-factor authentication or two-factor authentication are often optional features on accounts, and because many organizations don't realize the real risk associated with hacking, they often fail to enable this feature. Understandably, many business leaders believe their network is already sufficiently protected from bad actors—so even though multi-factor authentication is a relatively easy tool to launch and maintain, it's often disregarded.

The fact is, even if your company has antivirus software, a firewall, encryption technology and more in place, it is still possible for cybercriminals to obtain employee passwords, typically through email based phishing attacks. Research shows that weak passwords or stolen credentials are the top choice of hackers and are used in 95% of web application attacks. And once the hackers have employee passwords, they can use them to login to your business. The bottom line is simple. Without multi-factor authentication in place, unfortunately, financial and personal information, as well as a workplace network can be exposed to unnecessary risk for a breach. Simply put, you and your business need multi-factor authentication, in addition to the rest of your cybersecurity strategy. The good news is that if multi-factor authentication is in place, hackers will have a much more time logging into your business, even if they obtain employee passwords.

How to put multi-factor authentication in place for your business

With the right partner at the ready, putting multi-factor authentication in place can be quick and easy for your employees. These days, with employees working from wherever they are, the risk of hackers harvesting credentials is greater than ever—meaning there's no time like the present to up your cybersecurity game. Get the protection you need to look out for the data of your employees, your company, and your clients. Do you have a business in Wisconsin, Minnesota or Iowa that could use a cybersecurity boost? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you shore up your network security, and be certain your staff (and no one else) have the access they need, with multi-factor authentication.

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