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What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on March 14th, 2018

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What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?

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Today, in the face of large scale data breaches, data security is becoming more and more important for companies everywhere. A data breach, in addition to being an inconvenience, can carry a number of consequences that could put your company at risk, like huge fines, jail time, loss of business, and damage to your reputation. That’s why it’s crucial that you have security measures in place to protect your data from even the most skilled hackers.

Unfortunately, passwords aren’t always enough to keep hackers out, making them a huge vulnerability for many companies. Typically, users don’t follow basic password best practices, using simple passwords that are easily compromised. Without a complex password, it’s hard to keep your data secure. That’s where multi-factor authentication comes in.

What is multi-factor authentication? Multi-factor authentication uses two or more independent credentials to login into or access an account or software solution. The goal is to create an extra layer of defense against unauthorized users. Ultimately, it’s a way to prove that the person using a username and password is actually who they claim to be.

Explore this article to learn more about multi-factor authentication, find out why you need it, and discover the benefits it could hold for your company.

 

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Is Multi-Factor Authentication Already Part of Your Daily Life?

While you may not have heard the term “multi-factor authentication,” there’s a chance you’ve been using it without even realizing it. Multi-factor authentication, thanks to its heightened levels of security, is being integrated into daily life in a number of ways, including the following examples:

  • Swiping your debit card and then typing in your PIN (personal identification number)
  • Logging into a website, receiving an OTP (one-time password) to your phone or email address, and entering the code into the website to access your account
  • Entering your password on a website and then answering a security question to access to your account
  • Swiping a key card and using a biometric factor, like voice recognition or a fingerprint scan, to verify your identity

As you can see from these examples, multi-factor authentication is more commonplace than you may realize. So, while it may seem daunting to integrate multi-factor authentication into your business processes, it’s actually much easier than you think, since your employees are already accustomed to it. Plus, the numerous benefits of this type of authentication make it worth the small effort of adoption. 

 

 

Why Would You Want to Use Multi-Factor Authentication?

While you may already be familiar with the use of multi-factor authentication in your daily life, it might be hard to imagine integrating it into your business and the solutions you and your employees use. Let’s look at some of the greatest benefits of multi-factor authentication, and find out why this is a data security measure you should embrace.

 

Your Information Remains Secure – Even if Passwords are Compromised

Ultimately, the greatest benefit of integrating multi-factor authentication into your login processes is the increase in security it brings your organization. Given enough time, a password alone will fail. As CPU processing speeds increase, brute force attacks – or an attack in which a software is used to generate a high quantity of consecutive password guesses – become easier and faster.

However, if you have more than one authentication measure in place, you can trust that your data will remain secure, even if a password is compromised. Multi-factor authentication protects against weak passwords and employees who fail to align with your password standards.

 

It Creates a Better User Experience

You never want to sacrifice security because your users find your security requirements or policies inconvenient. So, it’s important that though your security measures are effective, your users don’t have to jump through hoops to stay in line with them. The easier you make it to follow your guidelines, the more likely it is that your employees will do so. Fortunately, multi-factor authentication, when implemented correctly, can be fairly simple for users to adapt to.

Because you and your employees are already used to multi-factor authentication in some form or another in your daily life, it should be easy for you to add a simple step to their online login process. To make this process even easier, top FTP hosts have multi-factor authentication measures built into their file sharing solutions. All you have to do is enable that option, and your users will be required to verify their identity.

Multi-Factor authentication can provide benefits when it comes to your clients, too. When clients deal with sensitive data, they want to ensure their partners and vendors value security as much as they do. If multi-factor authentication is a requirement in your file sharing process, you’re demonstrating to your clients that they can trust you to keep your data secure.

 

You Can Maintain Compliance

Multi-factor authentication also plays an important role in maintaining compliance. Many compliance standards are in place to protect sensitive information, like HIPAA and personal health information, or ITAR and military data. When your business is subject to these compliance standards, you need to be sure business documents and personal information are secure, and you’re not in violation of these requirements. With multi-factor authentication, you add another layer of protection to your data. And, you can rest easy knowing you’ll avoid the risks of noncompliance.

As you can see, the benefits of multi-factor authentication are immense. With such a small step, you’re capable of protecting your data at low cost and with little impact to your organization.

To make adopting multi-factor authentication even easier, you need to choose the right FTP solution that has this function built into its login processes. The best solutions, like FTP Today, provide your business with multi-factor authentication capabilities, so you’ll have all the pieces in place to keep your data secure. Make security a priority, and take steps to integrate multi-factor authentication into your business today.

Learn more about the role data security plays in compliance. Download this free guide, 5 Risks of Consumer File Sharing in an Enterprise Environment now.

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About Martin Horan

Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.

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