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If you are increasingly frustrated at being asked for yet another code to log onto your IT systems  – blame cyber hackers and GDPR.

In the last 12 months, according to the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, 87% of organisations experienced at least one successful cyber attack, and with the potential fines that the Information Commissioner could apply in the event of a data breach,  additional measures to protect your vital data are really necessary.

What is Multi Factor Authentication? (MFA)

Anyone who banks online will be familiar with the need to log into their bank account, not only with a password, but using a secondary device that generates a new PIN code every time you log in. Arguably a time consuming process but one that keeps our personal bank accounts secure. This process, called multi-factor authentication is slowly being adopted by businesses in the face of increasing hacking and fraud attempts.

It is a way of confirming a user’s identity by a combination of two or more unique identification mechanisms. Typically, MFA mechanisms fall into at least two of the following categories: something you know, eg a password or PIN;  something you possess, eg a smartcard, token or phone app; or increasingly, something that is uniquely part of you, eg a fingerprint or iris recognition.

For example, by enabling MFA, banks are adding an extra layer of security to your account. Alongside your password, the PIN generator device increases the security of your account and helps prevent unauthorised access and potential fraud or theft. Your username and password might be stolen electronically but without your physical PIN generator, fraudsters can’t access your account.

Why bother with MFA?

Security breaches can have a major impact on brand reputation, erode customer trust and cost significant amounts of time and money for businesses. A recent UK Government study found that the average cost of a data breach for businesses was around £3,100 and two days lost. Businesses running hosted desktops are specifically vulnerable to the sorts of threats that MFA is designed to protect against.

Not forgetting that with the introduction of GDPR legislation, extra vigilance to maintain data integrity and reduce the potential for data breaches has become even more important. 

So why aren’t more business using MFA?

One frequent complaint from users is the extra time required to use MFA. Using a password is much quicker than having to type a password and then dig out a hardware token as well. MFA implementation across businesses has been slow due to the perceived hassle and cost it may create.

But is slowly gaining traction as businesses look to secure their data against hackers and manage their risk. Over four in ten businesses (43%) and two in ten charities (19%) have experienced cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.

There are also new solutions available for improving the usability of MFA and reducing the time taken to access the account, such as push notifications to a smart phone.

HW Technology has extensive experience of delivering secure hosted desktops with in-built MFA.  Find out how secure access to your data and applications from any location can help your business. 


For more information about multi factor authentication, contact Haines Watts Technology Limited on 0845 504 8989.

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