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A Refresher on Multi-Factor Authentication

by Erik Briceno

These days, everyone should know what MFA is. Multi-factor authentication is something we’ve covered before as an important, basic step in cybersecurity hygiene. It’s so important in fact, that it’s even part of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework.

For those of you who are still unfamiliar with MFA and/or how to implement it, here is a quick but important refresher.

What is MFA?

Multi-factor authentication is essentially an extra layer of security as opposed to having just a password. Your passwords can be easily compromised. MFA immediately increases your account security by requiring multiple forms of verification to prove your identity when signing into an application. Whereas 2FA (two-factor authentication) is limited to just your password and one extra verification step, MFA refers to having two or more extra steps above your password. These extra authentication stages can be performed in several ways, including but not limited to:

  • SMS or voice call – You receive a code on your mobile phone via SMS or voice call to augment the security of your passwords.
  • Software tokens – Authenticator app or other third-party apps generate an OATH (universal Open Authentication) verification code as a second form of authentication.
  • Hardware tokens – This method automatically generates a one-time password based on open authentication (OATH) standards from a physical device.
  • FIDO2 security keys – Users sign in without a username or password using an external USB, near-field communication (NFC), or other external security key that supports Fast Identity Online (FIDO) standards in place of a password.

How Do You Enable MFA?

Every single application, cloud platform, email account, operating system or literally anything that requires a log-in process of some kind is going to have its own method for enabling multi-factor authentication. A decent product will typically remind you to set it up and provide you with instructions on how to go about it, but this isn’t always the case. V2 Systems can help you configure your log-in accounts with various MFA devices and ensure that each and every access point within your organization is as secure as possible.

Why Is Everyone Suddenly Talking About MFA?

A Refresher on Multi-Factor AuthenticationWhile two-factor and multi-factor authentication is certainly nothing new, it’s more important to set it up now than ever before, thanks largely in part to the new normal of working from home. In fact, MFA is the single best thing you can do to improve security for remote work in general. With more people working from home and potentially using different devices, MFA can ensure only the right person is gaining access. The number of cyber attempts reported to the FBI has quadrupled across all sectors since the start of the pandemic. A major part of that increase can be attributed to the rise in the number of employees working from home. User credentials for logging into the company’s network while in the office often lack the robust security required for a remote workforce.

At V2 Systems, we can provide you with the extra layers of security needed to keep your organization safe, no matter the environment. Not only will we ensure that MFA is enabled for every user, but we will also actively monitor your entire cyberinfrastructure in real-time. If you have questions about MFA or cybersecurity in general, contact us for a free consultation.

 

Since 1995, Manassas Park, VA-based V2 Systems has employed local systems administrators, network engineers, security consultants, help desk technicians and partnering companies to meet a wide range of clients’ IT needs, from research, to implementation, to maintenance. Concentrate on your VISION…We’ll handle the TECHNOLOGY!

ebriceno
About ebriceno
Erik Briceño is the owner of V2 Systems, Inc., one of Northern Virginia’s leading Information Technology Managed Service Providers. He is an inspiring leader for its employees and instrumental business partner for its customers. He is passionate about V2’s purpose, dedicated to exceeding expectations and a consummate professional not afraid of jumping in and getting his hands dirty. Prior to joining V2 Systems in 2002, Erik was a co-founder and COO of Ampcast.com, a leading provider of online resources servicing over 5,000 independent musical artists. At Ampcast.com, Erik spearheaded all aspects of corporate development, funding, strategic vision, and business development for the firm. From 1997 to 1999 Erik held the position of Acoustic Systems Engineer for Electric Boat Corporation, a leading defense contractor. In this role, Erik was responsible for the acoustic fidelity of two noise critical systems and components in the US Navy’s nuclear submarine systems. Erik holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Business Administration from George Mason University. When not working, you will find Erik a dedicated family man, raising two young children with his lovely wife Karen. Together, they enjoy building legos, playing baseball, skiing, riding horses, swimming, traveling, and fixing up old Mopars.
A Refresher on Multi-Factor Authentication
A Refresher on Multi-Factor Authentication