Cybersecurity Insight

Multifactor Authentication: The Time Is Now

24 Mar

It may not be breaking news, but this is a major announcement that companies need to embrace: passwords are out; multifactor authentication is in. In it’s simplest form, an ATM transaction is an example of multifactor authentication usage – you need to not only produce your debit card for the machine, but also input your pin to finish the transaction. After reports that a Russian crime ring stole over 1.2 billion passwords, individual users and companies nationwide need to take note that this is a serious issue and will only grow bigger as hacker syndicates become more robust in their attack methods.

At the most recent RSA Conference, a survey found that over 77% of IT professionals believed passwords are failing as an IT protection method; ironically enough, over 1 in 10 IT professionals said they don’t change their default passwords! In the past, multifactor authentication was reserved for the data deemed most sensitive or vulnerable. Now, it is used quite often but still caters to easy user accessibility. Forget your password? No problem, just type in your email or phone number and a link will direct you to the reset page. Users are able to quickly log into their accounts, reset their password, and be on their merry way.

But what happens if a hacker gets into a user’s email or phone? That multifactor authentication protection that many retailers, banks and other protected firms rely so heavily on just went out the window. However, the industry is in the throes of a new era – iPhones now use fingerprint technology to unlock themselves, and many companies have begun using everything from handprint to retina scans to gain access to a building, data, and other guarded areas. Either way, this new slew of protection against hackers and cyber attacks is coming fast.

Don’t worry, though, there is some kind of silver lining to all this extra work – with the multifactor authentication market expected to reach a valuation of $9.6 billion by 2020, now is the time for companies to act and get ahead of the curve. Learn about your organization’s current cyber security setup – is multifactor authentication in place? What steps can be taken to assess and monitor the firm’s network and data? The more you are equipped with the knowledge needed to protect your company’s assets, the better – and more secure – you will be in the long run.