Although security agents have warned businesses to protect against hackers for several years, cybercrime continues to increase rapidly. In 2020, over one trillion dollars was lost to online criminals worldwide. As hacking techniques evolve and become more advanced, business owners must implement security strategies that protect their clients, employees and company data. By adopting multi-factor authentication (MFA), you can improve your cyber security and minimise the chances of an attack. Here are some tips on using MFA in your business and training your employees on revised cyber security policies.

Is Your Business Vulnerable to Attacks?

Hackers employ several methods to disrupt and steal data from organisations, but most attacks are caused by inadequate password protection. Passwords were once considered the first line of defence against hackers, but that outdated concept has led many business owners to a false sense of confidence in strong passwords. Unfortunately, some companies do not even prioritise strong passwords. You may have seen TV shows or films that show an office worker using “1234” or “guest” as the company password, and although it’s meant as a joke, it’s not far from reality.

Multi-factor authentication makes an online attack more difficult to carry out by requiring users to provide two or more forms of identification to access an account. According to Microsoft, this simple protection measure can protect you against 99.9 % of attacks. MFA is not a new concept, and you’ve probably used it several times for things such as logging in to your internet banking and accessing your accounting systems. Corporations and small businesses are rapidly adopting MFA to protect customer accounts, sensitive company data and e-commerce transactions.

Premium security software, employee monitoring and strong passwords are integral to online security, but cybercriminals can breach those protections when they’re not integrated with MFA. Some of the vulnerabilities hackers exploit to grab your data include:

  • Weak Passwords: The misconception, loosely based on the law of probability, that passwords are tough to crack has encouraged hackers to use new techniques and software that exploit poor password protection. Some criminals research a company’s profile and social media accounts for clues to their passwords, and they confer with other hackers in online forums for additional tips and password suggestions. With a long list of possible entry codes, they bombard the company’s site with passwords until one works. This password spraying technique has been effective in breaching organisations without MFA.
  • Outdated Protocols: Before implementing MFA at your business, ensure your protocols accept the security measure. Some legacy protocols, such as legacy email systems, are not capable of supporting MFA. By clearing out your outdated tools and applications and updating your system with authentication protocols, you deny hackers easy access to your accounts.
  • Vulnerable Company Email Accounts: With access to your email account and client list, a hacker can send fraudulent emails to customers demanding payment, expose private company correspondence and disrupt consumer confidence in your operation. Your contact lists and email accounts are a goldmine for cybercriminals, but with MFA safeguards, your accounts are protected.
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The cost of cyber-attacks extends beyond financial losses. Past events shown us that prevention through education trumps the aftermath of breaches.


How Do You Implement MFA at Your Business?

Although MFA does not require expensive software to operate effectively, some businesses fear adding MFA may disrupt their workflow. Enforcing MFA on all your browsers, accounts and device can take a few hours, depending on the size of your company, but the security benefits outweigh the losses from downtime.

Employees frequently use MFA in their everyday lives, but some are unaware of how essential it is in a business environment. By employing an IT security expert to assist with authentication measures, you can reinforce the importance of the effort and ensure your employees are compliant.

The Importance of Training Your Staff

Data breaches can cause significant damage to your business and reputation, and many attacks occur after a staff member makes a simple, avoidable mistake. If a company account is compromised, an employee who failed to install MFA protection can click on an unknown email that enables a hacker to gain access. With MFA enabled, the hacker could not have sent the email to the company address.

Security experts suggest periodic training sessions can improve online security considerably and prevent attacks. Develop a security training programme that involves monthly meetings, frequent inspections of the staff’s online activity, and in-house updates on security improvements. For new hires, you can modify your orientation manual and operating procedures to include a section on multi-factor authentication and how to install it on browsers.

Keeping your business protected from cybercrime is vital to your safety and prosperity, and you can rely on the experts at Future IT Services for IT solutions that strengthen your online security. Talk to Future IT Services today to arrange cyber awareness training for your employees.