The importance of multi-factor authentication

Greg Jennings
Monday 5 October 2020

Multi-factor authentication (or MFA) is something we have all become slowly familiar with in the past year or so. Mostly as an additional security implementation to ensure a password leak isn’t enough for a cyber criminal to gain unauthorised access to your accounts.

Although it did seem like just another thing to worry about at first, the benefits of multi-factor authentication justify its importance and why this is something that will be pivotal in IT Security in years to come.


We need more than just a strong password

To emphasise its value, it’s important to first understand why it’s necessary – especially in the modern age, when all we really have as protection is a password.

A password has many benefits but also many downfalls. Regardless of how complex they come, they are a sole line of defence which creates an element vulnerability. Particularly if they aren’t hard to crack. Besides, who likes having to remember a string of characters consisting of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, right?

They also provide no form of identity check. This means that anyone that that gets hold of an account password can use it, without question. Luckily for us, this is where MFA comes in.


What is multi-factor authentication

As most of us know by now, MFA adds that extra layer of protection, by essentially asking you to confirm your login attempt on your device by:

  • notification
  • call
  • text

So, even if someone does somehow crack your password, you can deny their access when you receive the login approval notification from your MFA client. Much like a domino effect, this should then nudge you in the direction of changing your account password as a precaution, without the pain of having to deal with being hacked.

If you do receive a prompt which you weren’t expecting, you can also alert the IT Service Desk.


Further information

All information on multi-factor authentication, including how to set it up, can be found on the IT website.

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