Real Business Connections

Five Minute Friday
Five Minute Friday
You Can’t Have a Moat Filled with Crocodiles – But You CAN Have MFA/2FA

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Hi, I’m Tanner Sanderson VP of Sales at SynchroNet Industries. SynchroNet is the expert IT partner to organizations throughout Western New York and the US.

We help businesses make the most of their IT environments by managing their networks, systems, and equipment.

I’m here to talk about Two-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication.

See, we can’t have a moat filled with hungry crocodiles to protect our most essential tools – like Salesforce, QuickBooks, and so on.

But we CAN have 2FA or MFA. 

While most of us are used to answering a few extra security questions when we log in to online banking, many of the businesses we talk with haven’t implemented secondary authentication … YET.

So we’ll talk through the answers to a few questions today –

First, WHAT EXACTLY is 2FA or MFA?

Second, Why should your organization implement additional authentication standards?

Third, How can you get started with 2FA or MFA?

Finally, What other steps can make 2FA and MFA even more effective?

Let’s jump right in.

2FA and MFA describe extra layers of authentication.

Many business applications, specific websites, and file management tools contain confidential information. Before you can access them, they might need to double-check that you are who you say you are.

2FA is Two-Factor Authentication, which means you’ll need to pass a second checkpoint.

First, you enter your correct username and password. Then you might receive a text message with a 6-digit code that you enter into the website or application to complete the verification process.

Why is 2FA useful? Imagine some guy steals your username and password into online banking. Your bank implemented 2FA, which means that a potential thief ALSO needs access to the cellphone connected to your profile to access your account successfully.

He doesn’t have your phone … so he can’t get into your bank account. 

But most banks don’t rely on 2FA, which requires exactly two forms of authentication.

They use MFA – Multi-factor Authentication – with two or MORE authentication factors.

You may have noticed some websites, especially banks, ask you to assign a profile image. Your selected image appears when you go to your log-in page and put in your username. If it doesn’t, you shouldn’t log in!

That photo, your password, and the security code you receive by email or text represent THREE authentication factors!

2FA and MFA increase people’s awareness of data security. 

Suppose you get an email with a notification that a sign-on was prevented because the final verification failed.

In that case, you know someone’s trying to get into your account without your permission!

The result?

You’ll be more careful and deliberate the next time you log into that app!

You’ll enhance your security by changing your password.

You’ll monitor all account activity. This vigilance is important!

Two-step verification reinforces your focus on security and keeps data confidentiality top of mind. 

But the bad guys don’t stop. They want your data.

Protected data is any piece of confidential info and needs to stay confidential. Protected information includes personal, financial, demographic, and biometric data. Protected data is extremely valuable, making data breaches extremely destructive and expensive.

Every business works with some protected information.

That means every business should implement extra authentication standards. No business is too little or too big to skip adding 2FA or MFA!

And yet, some business owners we talk with don’t realize it’s an option – Yes, it is!

Make a list of all the applications and tools that contain, use, or connect to protected information. Every item on this list should be secured with extra authentication if possible. 

How do you do that?

Open the tool’s security settings and look for 2-step verification or something similar. Then just follow the on-screen steps! 

Ideally, you’ll roll out 2FA or MFA to all users by making a global change as the application administrator.

This configuration will then prompt your users to follow the necessary steps to use enhanced authentication in the future.

Your enhanced security posture should be documented in your IT Security Policy. 

You’ll want to document the full list of all the applications that have 2FA or MFA enabled.

You’ll also want to write the procedure for adding a new user or removing a former user.

If you have many applications that use two-step verification, you can bring everything under a single umbrella by implementing a vetted identity and access management tool like OneLogin.

Is MFA the end-all-be-all of data security? 

Extra layers of authentication are a significant step in improving your security, but it’s just the first step.

The next steps are the most important:

As you switch to two-step authentication, take the opportunity to mandate a STRONG PASSWORD policy AND the use of a vetted password manager.

These three actions will create an optimal first line of defense … which, of course, you’ll want to document into your IT security policy.

It’s not a moat filled with crocodiles. It’s better.

So let’s recap this information.

First, 2FA or MFA is an extra step or set of steps you need to take to authenticate your identity when you log into a tool or application with protected information.

Second, companies of every size should implement extra authentication standards because protected data is valuable. No business can afford a data breach.

Third, you can get started with 2FA or MFA by making a list of the tools and applications that touch protected information.

Then check the security settings of those systems to enable two-step verification.

If there are a lot of tools, you could consider implementing a vetted identity and access management tool.

Finally, you can make the most of two-step verification by combining it with a Strong Password Policy and a password manager as you follow through on your new strategy from your IT security policy.

If you need help with 2FA or MFA, SynchroNet is here for you. We’ll help you take the best steps to improve your security, productivity, and technology.

We’re process-oriented because proven processes are scalable, sustainable, and make a bottom-line difference. That’s The SynchroNet Way.

Again, I’m Tanner Sanderson. Reach me at I welcome your feedback or questions. Thanks for your time.

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???? Article+ Audio Written and Recorded By Tanner Sanderson

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