The ins-and-outs of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for businesses

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Keeping your data safe might feel like a full-time job in the modern world. As technology progresses, there are more avenues than ever before for hackers to access your information or compromise your devices. Whether you own a business and need to protect your network or are a private citizen looking to keep your personal information safe, multi-factor authentication can help. This is considered one of the most effective means of protecting data and it’s fairly simple to implement and use.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

What’s the norm?

Most websites and accounts operate with a single sign-on authentication model. This is your standard user name and password or PIN code that you create when you make the account. Your computer can easily save your login information, autofill it and have you in your account in no time. This approach gets its name because you only need one type of verification to access an account: your password. This makes signing in quick and easy, but it’s also quick and easy for hackers to steal that single bit of information and take over your account. That’s why cybersecurity experts have started turning to multi-factor authentication (MFA).

What is MFA?

This style of security is based on the same principle as your standard login. Users have accounts gated by the standard username and password login. Where MFA goes beyond traditional methods is that it requires a second type of identity verification. Hence, multi-factor. Think of programs like Duo that send push notifications to your phone or websites that send you a text message with a one-time code. These are all two-step verification methods that keep your data safe.

Why it’s safer

Multi-factor authentication is safer than traditional sign-in methods because it creates an extra barrier for hackers to cross in order to access your information. This layered approach means you’re more likely to thwart an attack by barring them access to your data. A hacker might easily steal your login information from a variety of sources, by using malicious code to pull data from your computer or by using an algorithm that guesses until your account is cracked. All of these tactics, however, can only get them through the first type of verification. Just because they know your password doesn’t mean they can access your account if you use multifactor authentication. Hackers would need access to your email, text messages or other personal identifiers to successfully enter your account.

Common types Of verification


The first type of secondary verification is based on things you know. This might be the answer to security questions you set up or a PIN in addition to your password. If you’re using this type of verification, just keep in mind your answers should be things only you know. If someone could research you and find the answer, it’s not a good security question.


This is something that you have that no one else does. Things like one-time passcodes or confirmation links sent via email are digital examples of this type of verification. Physical examples could include USB keys, employee badges or smart key fobs.


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The ins-and-outs of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for businesses 2

These are verifications that are part of your body, usually biometrics. Things like your fingerprint or voice recognition are popular examples of this style of verification. Inherent verification is one of the most secure because it’s difficult to replicate someone’s unique biological characteristics.

How to implement it

Most websites are starting to move to this type of user authentication. If you’re looking to add it to your personal life or business, there are lots of different applications or services that can help you protect your data with MFA. Some popular examples include Duo Mobile, Google Authenticator, and LastPass Authenticator. 


Multi-factor authentication is an easy way to add an extra layer of protection to your online information. It can help you to thwart hackers and feel safe knowing you have the most effective type of security guarding your personal information.

Do you use multi-factor authentication in your business? Let us know on social media by using the buttons below.


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