Cybersecurity should be a high priority for any business that operates services online. One study found that hackers attack every 39 seconds—about 2,244 times a day. And they’re not going away anytime soon. 

Many of these cyberattacks attempt to phish for data and access your company’s sensitive files. Installing anti-virus software and firewalls is an important first step to securing your systems, but this alone can’t protect you completely against cyber attacks.

One of the tools that your Alabama business should add to its security arsenal is multi-factor authentication. Here’s how this authentication can provide your business with added security and peace of mind.

Ipad with floating lock symbols used for multi-factor authentication

What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication is a method of protecting your business’s data by requiring employees to use two or more pieces of information to log into your systems. The first factor will generally be the user’s password. The second could be a code sent through a text message, email, or phone call, a physical token such as a key fob, or even a biometric confirmation, like a fingerprint.

Many people are familiar with two-factor authentication because in the past few years, it has been implemented by many services such as online banking and email services and is now required for users to access their accounts.

This form of authentication is effective because instead of merely asking more questions that hackers could guess the answer to, like a maiden name or the name of your first pet, it requires the user to provide another piece of information that is separate from the internet connection they’re using. It’s a lot harder for a hacker to get access to your email, phone, or fingerprint in addition to your username and password.

Multi-factor authentication is designed to prove that the person who is logging in is the account holder by eliminating the possibility of a remote login from another source. With this security measure in place, it will be significantly harder for a hacker in a different state or country to gain access to your computer system in Alabama.

Advantages of Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication helps provide security against one of the biggest security weaknesses companies face: people. No matter how many firewalls you have, it only takes one employee to click on a phishing link and enter their login information to start a data breach.

Hackers know that this is a major weakness for many companies, so they target employees by sending emails or links that pretend to be from inside your organization, enticing employees to respond and enter their personal data. Phishing attacks are the most common form of cyber attack, and almost one-third of data breaches involve phishing, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Using multi-factor authentication can protect you against these types of attacks and give you peace of mind knowing that even if an attempt to access an employee’s login information is successful, hackers will not be able to infiltrate your systems because they still lack the second factor required to log in.

If Your Business Is Unprotected

In 2015, the company Anthem suffered what is still considered to be the biggest healthcare data breach of all time. The records of 78.8 million patients were stolen, and the breach cost the company $391.5 million in settlement fees and penalties. And the attack began with a phishing attempt. At least one employee responded to a spear phishing email, and cyber criminals gained access to login credentials that served as an entry point for their attack. 

Multi-factor authentication protects against phishing attempts, and it may have stopped an attack like the one Anthem suffered. 

Data breaches can cost businesses hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars in downtime, lost data, and settlement payments. And on top of that, industries that have government regulations for dealing with confidential customer information will face punitive fines.

Immediate financial losses aside, one of the biggest ways a data breach can harm your business is by making your consumers lose confidence in you. If your customers do not have faith in your ability to protect their data, they will find an alternative solution where they feel they don’t have to fear for their privacy and security.

Be Proactive

Taking a proactive approach to your cybersecurity by utilizing multiple layers of protection will give you greater security and peace of mind. Multi-factor authentication is one tool that can add a vital layer of protection to your business’s data. Talk to a trusted Alabama IT Company to help you create a plan for your cyber security and implement this safety measure in your business.