Why multifactor authentication is an absolute necessity

October 26th, 2020
Why multifactor authentication is an absolute necessity

In an age filled with new cybersecurity threats, companies must put greater effort into keeping their data secure. This involves enforcing stricter security policies, having more than mere antivirus software, and implementing multifactor authentication (MFA).

As its name implies, MFA is a security mechanism that verifies one’s identity using other factors beyond simple username–password combinations. According to Microsoft, multifactor authentication blocks 99.9% of automated account hacks, making it one of the most effective modern security practices.

Below, we explore the benefits of multifactor authentication and why healthcare professionals and organizations need it today.

Improves security and compliance

The main benefit of MFA is it provides tighter security. And with almost every healthcare application vulnerable to cyberattacks, strengthening one’s digital protection is crucial.

With multifactor authentication, your accounts have an extra layer or two of security. Rather than relying solely on a pair of login credentials, MFA requires a combination of authentication factors before granting you access. These can be:

  • Something you know (e.g., PIN or answer to a security question)
  • Something you have (e.g., unique code sent to your mobile device)
  • Something you are (e.g., retina scan or fingerprint)
  • Somewhere you are (e.g., IP or MAC address)
  • Something you do (e.g., recreating a specific lock pattern)

A compromised password is thus no longer enough for a hacker to cause further damage. It may be easy for them to obtain your login credentials, but it’s unlikely that they could nab your mobile device at the same time to retrieve a unique SMS code.

With improved security, your organization can also boost compliance with local, state, and/or federal guidelines, helping you avoid hefty fines, penalties, and reputational damage.

Combats phishing attacks

According to the 2019 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey, the most common point of data compromise for healthcare organizations in the United States was via email. Plenty of significant security incidents were initiated by phishing scams and other methods of email fraud.

So while a phishing attack may make it easier for a hacker to steal login credentials, it won't provide them with a fingerprint or a distinct IP address needed to access an account that’s protected by MFA. However, it’s equally important that everybody in your healthcare organization knows how to spot phishing scams if you want to effectively protect your data. To stay on top of the latest cyberthreats, it's well worth conducting regular security awareness training and simulations.

Creates an efficient, streamlined experience

Upgrades or changes to one’s security practices can often be intimidating, as administrators and users alike may find certain measures complex and difficult to adopt. Thankfully, MFA is as easy to use as it is to set up. The implementation process takes a matter of seconds — admins or users can enable MFA in the backend settings of their accounts. Fortunately, most online platforms already support MFA, including Salesforce, Google, and Office 365. The additional security steps when logging in are simple and straightforward, with necessary PINs or passcodes sent to you instantly.

Admins can also use MFA to determine a user’s login patterns — including location and device used — which can help them streamline the login process even further. For example, users logging in from a trusted device can skip the extra prompt for a one-time passcode, helping them access their accounts with greater ease.

Boosts flexibility of remote workers

Switching to a work from home arrangement often raises questions on security protocols and business procedures, particularly about how one can safely and efficiently maintain these from a remote location. Fortunately, implementing MFA can help simplify data access among remote workers.

Through a streamlined access procedure, remote workers can easily access corporate data and projects they need, wherever they may be. At the same time, MFA enables managers and IT admins to rest a little easier, knowing that there is a security strategy that protects the company’s platforms and users, even with the complexities of a remote work setup.

In the field of healthcare, high-performing technologies are a must. But with increasingly alarming rates of cybercrime, so are robust cybersecurity measures. At Healthy IT, we offer healthcare and dental practices with all the IT support they need — from IT management services to disaster recovery planning and data backup solutions. Ensure a faster, more reliable, and more secure IT experience for your workers and patients by getting in touch with us today.