As cyber attacks become more and more common, protecting your data is increasingly difficult. In fact, a study from Juniper Research found that by 2023, cyber criminals are expected to steal an estimated 33 billion records.

In light of the growing number of cyber attacks, many companies are turning to multi-factor authentication (MFA) to enhance their cyber security.

While no cyber security method is foolproof, using multi-factor authentication can add an extra layer of security to your online accounts. In fact, according to Microsoft, 99.9% of account compromise attacks can be blocked by MFA. So how exactly does multi-factor authentication work?

What Is Multi-factor Authentication?

While complex passwords can help deter cyber criminals, they can still be cracked. To further prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to employee accounts, multi-factor authentication is key.

Multi-factor authentication adds a layer of security that allows companies to protect against compromised credentials. Through this method, users must confirm their identity by providing extra information (e.g., a phone number or unique security code) when attempting to access corporate applications, networks and servers.

With multi-factor authentication, it’s not enough to just have your username and password. In order to log in to an online account, you’ll need another “factor” to verify your identity. This additional login hurdle means that would-be cyber criminals won’t easily unlock an account, even if they have the password in hand.

A more secure way to complete multi-factor authentication is to use a time-based one-time password (TOTP). A TOTP is a temporary passcode that is generated by an algorithm (meaning it’ll expire if you don’t use it after a certain period of time). With this method, users download an authenticator app, such as those available through Google or Microsoft, onto a trusted device. Those apps will then generate a TOTP, which users will manually enter to complete login.

Why Multi-factor Authentication and Password Management Is Important

As multi-factor authentication becomes more popular, some states are considering requiring it for certain industries. It’s possible that as cyber security concerns continue to grow and cyber attacks become more common, other states will follow suit.

Even if it’s not legally required, ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your organization’s password-protected information. Effective password management protects the integrity, availability and confidentiality of an organization’s passwords.

Above all, you’ll want to create a password policy that specifies all of the organization’s requirements related to password management. This policy should require employees to change their password on a regular basis, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and use special characters in their password.

How does a business start to implement MFA?

Travelers, one of our partner insurance carriers, provides additional information and tips to implement MFA in this document. Travelers and Neckerman cyber liability policyholders have access to a one-hour consultation with a Symantec Security Coach who can provide expertise and help build a strong cybersecurity program. This confidential service is available at no additional cost.

For additional cyber risk management guidance and insurance solutions, contact us at Neckerman Insurance Services today.

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