When should your business update your authentication? How do you know when your identity management no longer proves adequate?
Here’s a solid rule of thumb: if you’re still relying on passwords and passwords alone as your authentication keystone, it’s time to update.
Understanding the why of that rule, and overcoming any internalized biases to multifactor authentication is a little trickier.
Let’s address both now.
When Should You Update Your Authentication?
Passwords Just Don’t Work
It’s a sad fact, and possibly a rather obtrusive fact, but a fact nevertheless. Passwords offer none of the protections your business needs to avoid a data breach.
At this point, plenty of IT decision-makers might complain that “it’s the way we’ve always done it,” or “our employees don’t want to switch from passwords.” Addressing the first point, that kind of traditionalism shouldn’t affect decision-making in the cybersecurity space, especially when deciding when it’s time to update your authentication. Hackers don’t follow tradition; they constantly innovate and adapt to new circumstances. You need to as well.
Second, employees are often more adaptable than you might realize. Passwords aren’t just insecure (more on that below), they’re cumbersome to the average user. Most people need to remember dozens of passwords at a time and hate having to go through the lengthy password reset process if they forget the one they need.
It’s what motivates so many of them to reuse previous passwords, one of the major security issues facing enterprises today. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of password insecurity. Hackers have myriad options for subverting or otherwise bypassing passwords. For example, they could simply use a password cracker and brute force their way through. Alternatively, they could use social media information to guess the password (people still use birthdays and spouse’s names, after all). Moreover, they could use a phishing attack to directly ask users for their passwords.
Passwords, on their own, just don’t work. So what can you do?
Multifactor Authentication Does Work
Every factor implemented between access request and the database constitutes a hurdle for hackers to clear. While nothing is 100 percent effective, most hackers stumble after a hurdle or two. In fact, many hackers won’t bother targeting businesses with multifactor authentication. Why would they, when much easier targets still exist and offer a faster payday?
Multifactor authentication may not even appear all that different from single-factor authentication for the average user. They might still only plug in a password at the initial log-in stage. However, a multifactor authentication platform is still verifying factors like physical location, device identity, time of login, and behaviors after the login stage. You can still have a smooth user experience and the right cybersecurity you need. If you take the time to discover the right solution, you can update your authentication and reap greater benefits than ever before.
Every second you delay making the right cybersecurity decision benefits the hackers. Don’t give them more of an advantage.
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