What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Image result for mfa microsoft

Multi-Factor Authentication, similar to Two-Factor Authentication, is a way to further protect you, your business, and employees from cybercrime. With the ever rising rate of hacking and other cybercrime, it's more crucial than ever to safeguard your sensitive information. It's no longer enough to just have a strong password. This is where MFA comes into play. Let's break it down.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

MFA is a second layer of security that you can use for your email logins, device logins, and many other places that you store sensitive information. It's usually broken down into three concepts:
  •     Things you know (knowledge), such as a password or PIN
  •     Things you have (possession), such as a badge or smartphone
  •     Things you are (inheritance), indicated through biometrics, like fingerprints or voice recognition¹
The combinations of the three above concepts work to create a more personalized layer of security for the end user. You may have seen these in use when you forget your email password and Google or Yahoo sends you an authentication code via text to your phone, or if you have the newer iPhone, they use biometrics like face recognition to make sure its really you, and not someone who just has your passcode.

Those examples above help you in your personal life, but what about your work life? Often times it's not only your personal information at risk when you or your whole business gets hacked. All of your coworkers and your clients get affected as well. Too many times we see breaches that could have been prevented if something as simple as multi-factor authentication was implemented.

Multifactor Authentication, unfortunately doesn't make your job easier. It adds additional steps during login to verify you are who you say you are. This extra step adds a little extra time every day. Chances are you will never see the benefits of having this enabled. 

What this does, is force the hackers to have to work harder to gain access to the company in the event that they get your password through breaches of other companies like Yahoo!, or Google. When they try to log into your account they will be forced to prove who they are through Multifactor Authentication and they won't have access to that device to log in. 

However, Multifactor Authentication can be configured so that you won't need to authenticate with it again unless you are outside of the office or someone logs into your account outside the office.

Image result for mfa microsoft

How Do I Use It?

Multi Factor Authentication is simple to use. There's multiple options to choose from such as text verification, phone calls, and the Microsoft Authenticator app. Based on your settings, when you log into an Office 365 application you'll be asked to enter a 6 digit code to verify your login. Here is a document explaining the setup process. 

After you enable Multifactor Authentcation you may be prompted to authenticate some of your accounts again. Below is a short list of items that we have had to do this for:

  • Your Desktop Outlook will request your password again and prompt for Multifactor Authentication
  • One Drive for Business will request your password again and prompt for Multifactor Authentication
  • Teams will request your password again and prompt for Multifactor Authentication
  • Logging into Sharepoint will request your password again and prompt for Multifactor Authentication
  • Logging into the Office 365 Portal (For OWA or any other Office 365 Features)
  • On your Cellphone
    • If you have the Outlook App email on your cellphone will request your password again and prompt for 2 factor authentication (sometimes takes up to 24 hours)
    • If you use Apple Mail or Android Mail, you may receive a request for password but it typically doesn't work. You will have to remove and re-add your account. Also, if you sync your contacts or tasks they will stop syncing as part of this.

How Do I Get MFA?

Is the fear of a hack on your mind lately? The good news is that if you have Office 365, you likely already have access to Multi-Factor AuthenticationIf you are interested in securing your business with MFA, you can contact us at sales@baroan.com or call us at (201) 796-0404 and ask for Guy.


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