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Why Do I Need Office 365 Multi Factor Authentication?

SBT Partners is the managed services provider that can assess your security needs and suggest the best possible solution.

A Password Is Also a Weakness

When people think of security, they think of the password. It is what they use to sign in to their computers, access networks, open attachments. Its been around for as long as computers have populated office desks. Whenever a company experiences a security breach, the first thing they usually do is get everyone to change passwords. 

But a data breach needs only one password to fail for a hacker to access an entire system. This means that when companies rely on a password as a sole means of protecting a system, they can be a liability.  Why is this?

Passwords are Usually Not Strong Enough 

“Password1234” will never be strong enough to secure a computer. It shouldn’t be something that is easy to guess or contain a serial number. The best passwords are ones that contain all characters available, upper and lowercase letters, numerals, punctuation, all in random patterns. The issue is the best password, those that are long, strong, and complex, are also not easy to remember.

Passwords are Repeated Across Different Accounts

Nobody wants to remember multiple passwords either. And since writing them down is not necessarily a best practice, users often repeat passwords. They even use personal passwords for business accounts. Password managers can alleviate the burden of remembering but many of them are managed by third parties which can pose a security threat.

Passwords are Not Enough to Ensure compliance to Industry Standards

Many compliance standards require businesses to implement a layer of security beyond a simple username and password. This is very important when a business deals with personally identifiable information, information about someone’s health, or financial information like credit card numbers. 

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

The truth is that any authentication system, password, one-time code will have its strengths and weaknesses. By layering these methods, a second or third security factor will compensate for any weaknesses of the others. If a user insists on using “password” as their password, you can supplement this by adding a layer of security that is not so easily guessed. This can be any combination of factors that follow certain criteria:

  • Something you know – This could be a username and password combination, or answers to customized challenge questions
  • Something you have – One time passcodes sent via text message or to a security key fob.
  • Something you are – A physical characteristic such as a retinal scan or a fingerprint.

 

How Does Office 365 Handle MFA?

Office 365 gives businesses unprecedented access over files, storage and network resources, all delivered through the cloud. This is sometimes sensitive data that can include intellectual property and even internal emails. Microsoft Office 365 has been developed into a secure, agile business platform that you can trust to store your information. Office 365 comes with MFA as a basic, built-in option that is useful for many companies because it allows them to customize their options for the second verification method. Organizations looking for more robust security or that need to meet specific compliance requirements can upgrade to Azure Multi-Factor Authentication as an add-on. 

SBT Partners, Your Trusted, Modern MSP

We have the experience to help you make the right security choices for your organization.  Multi-factor authentication is an important security upgrade for many businesses but we can help ensure you are implementing MFA the right way. While safety is an important priority, if it is too complicated, or if it is implemented without any buy-in from your employees, you could do more harm than good. 

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