How Two-Factor Authentication Can Help Prevent a Cyberattack

Person typing on laptop with smart phone in one hand

Our story begins with the classic situation: “My password was stolen this week.”  Perhaps you’ve found yourself saying, “This has never happened to me before! I am careful not to give mine out, I change it every 90 days, it’s complex, and I don’t save it within applications.”

Cyberattacks stories are something we all hear about in the news or may have actually dealt with at our own companies, and the outcome we hear is almost always the same. They may have paid to retrieve their data or were down for days or weeks, and their outsourced IT department had to get everything up and running.

We can’t stop cyberattacks from happening, but if business owners don’t take the necessary steps and communicate with their managed IT service provider, then hackers can easily take advantage of their mistakes to make a quick buck. If a 70k ransomware attack hit your business today would you survive?  Or worse have you done the math to see how long you can afford to be down.

Outsourced IT Solutions — The Untold Story

Typically, what makes the news are worst-case scenarios. What I want to talk about are the stories we don’t hear, where people have worked with an outsourced IT provider to implement a disaster recovery plan and core business processes to help ensure they are protected.

Implementing security and compliance best practices and technology can help prevent the stress and financial costs that come with a cyberattack. Nobody wants to make the call to their technical support team saying their email has been hacked or, even worse, have the word get out to competitors or colleagues in their industry.

Multi-Factor Authentication

When a cyberattack attempt happened to me, I was completely protected. Several years ago, Technology Pointe, Inc. implemented two-factor authentication (2FA) – or sometimes referred to as two-step verification – on my account. 2fa requires a secondary authentication to access a resource, usually via text or email. As an outsourced IT solution provider, we practice what we preach to our clients in our Austin and Dallas markets. Our job as their outsourced IT department is to ensure we’ve tested and are prepared to implement solutions that protect our clients and give them peace of mind knowing that they’re protected.

How did I know someone was trying to hack my account? I got a text on my cell phone with a code that had to be entered into the system before allowing access to my email. The text is how I realized I was in the middle of a cyberattack because I never requested that code. While everything turned out okay this time, I shudder to think what could have happened if my password had been my only protection.

How to Make 2FA More Convenient

Some users complain that it’s a pain to have to enter a code each time you open your email or documents. While this is a necessary safety measure, there are steps you can take to minimize the disruption.

On your primary PC, you can choose the option to “Trust this Device” which will only require a verification code once every 30 days (as long as you are accessing from the same device). This number is adjustable so that it is set up to your needs. The 2fa verification code will still be required when you are not on the trusted device.

The truth is, two-factor authentication is no longer an optional safety feature. It is a crucial security tool to keep the bad guys at bay. Any inconvenience is minuscule compared to the disaster of someone gaining access to your email or shared folders. I recommend that everyone implement this technology and allow it to become a standard part of your security protocol. Without it, you are risking the safety of your email account and all the information within.

How to Implement Two-Factor Authentication

If you’re wondering how to get two-factor authentication, it’s simple. Talk to your current outsourced IT provider and have them look at your technology budget. 2FA is a significant IT security trend in 2019, so any reputable managed IT provider should have multiple options and solutions.

If your in-house IT doesn’t have any experience with 2FA or isn’t sure how to set it up, look into outsourced helpdesk services. They can backfill your current support staff and also provide additional knowledge and expertise to help prevent a cyber-attack from happening. As always, the experts at Technology Pointe are ready to serve you if you’re unsure how to implement 2FA, and we can assess your other cybersecurity risks as well. Contact us today, and check out our guide below to help you create your IT budget for the coming year.

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