Let’s say you are logging in to your computer or an online account with a username and password, to prove to the system that you are who you say you are – seems easy right?
Whilst it might be easy, having just a username and password makes you incredibly susceptible to account and device compromise which is where someone can pretend to be you and access your information. Passwords and email addresses are easy to discover, especially as we tend to use simple passwords so that we can remember them.
To help improve the security of accounts and devices, multi-factor authentication otherwise known as MFA, 2SV, and two-step verification was designed to help stop cybercriminals from accessing your accounts even if they obtain your passwords.
Installing a method of multi-factor authentication means that two different types of information or a second factor are required before access will be permitted to allow access to an account, device, or computer system.
If somebody else tries to sign in as you, however, they'll enter your username and password, and when they get prompted for that second factor they're stuck! Unless they have YOUR smartphone, unique code or biometric factor, they will have no way of getting access to your account.
Remember, multifactor authentication is not just for business. Almost every online service from your bank, to your personal email, to your social media accounts supports adding a second step of authentication and you should go into the account settings for those services and turn that on.
Below are instructions on how to turn on MFA for the most common email systems and for four popular social media channels. Turn on 2SV for email:
Turn on 2SV for social media:
As a small or micro business, improving your online security is invaluable, both from the point of view of protecting your own business and also protecting the organisations you may supply as part of their supply chain.
Following basic cyber hygiene steps like turning on multi-factor authentication can be the difference in preventing cyber criminals from accessing sensitive information about your business.