When a business suffers a data breach, people are quick to point the finger at technology. But security failures almost always involve human error. After all, cybercriminals don’t have to hack anything if all they need to do is trick someone into giving away their login credentials. In other cases, they might be able to decipher the credentials after taking time to learn about the victim. Given the fact that poor password habits reign supreme, it’s often easy to compromise a simple security system this way.
Multifactor authentication (MFA) provides an extra layer of security to the password process. You’re already familiar with the technology: one of the most common uses of MFA is securing an ATM transaction. First, you present your bank card (i.e., something you have) and then enter your PIN code (i.e., something you know). Requiring two authentication methods greatly increases security, since neither can succeed without the other. MFA systems can include a range of verification methods, such as biometrics or geolocation.
MFA is essential for protecting any critical business application, particularly those which handle sensitive data like personal records or payment information. However, it can be counter-productive or ineffective if not implemented with care. Obviously, it requires twice the effort of simply entering a password. And if your MFA system is too complicated, employees might be tempted to find a way around it, defeating its purpose.
To overcome these issues, it’s best to implement MFA alongside a unified single sign-on (SSO) process that allows employees to access the resources they need by entering their login credentials only once. MFA combined with SSO is where a password management tool like LastPass can be indispensable.
We’re often told that we should never use the same password for multiple accounts. But that’s difficult advice to follow, given that the average email address is associated with 130 online accounts. It’s hard to remember 100+ sets of login credentials, which naturally encourages the other option: reusing passwords. Unfortunately, if hackers are able to compromise that single password, they can much more easily gain access to other accounts tied to the same password.
Using the MFA + SSO combination, managed by LastPass, means you don’t have to remember all those different passwords, or risk reusing one. You can automatically generate strong passwords that are practically immune to hacking. And since LastPass remembers them, you don’t need to. All you need to do is log in once using a master password and verify your identity. This simplifies many everyday online procedures, from banking to shopping to storing digital records. For most businesses the LastPass Enterprise license would be the minimum recommended functionality.
SSO makes password management easier and reduces the temptation to reuse easily memorable passwords. This, in turn, greatly improves security. Add MFA into the mix, and you’ve got one of the most robust security systems available.
As mentioned above, MFA works by combining two or more authentication factors. These can be configured based on the risk profiles of your applications and users. MFA also works well with a zero-knowledge security model, in which a user can verify their identity by demonstrating they know the value of a password without actually having to enter it.
SSO and MFA greatly increase your employees’ resilience to social engineering scams. For example, if an employee is tricked into revealing their password, the attacker still won’t be able to access the account without providing the employee’s other authenticating factor: a fingerprint scan or temporary SMS activation code, for example.
What’s more, with LastPass, administrators will have a centralized dashboard for managing everything so they can grant and revoke access rights and apply sweeping updates with ease.
Interested in the security of MFA and the convenience of LastPass for your business? Leverage IT can ensure their smooth implementation. We bring 18 years of service helping businesses leverage technology without worry. Call us today to get started.