Multifactor Authentication and How it Works

All About Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

After recommending our customers use MFA for a while, we have made a decision to add MFA for FREE to all of our customers with Microsoft 365 email accounts. If you are a customer with Microsoft 365 email accounts, and have not been contacted regarding this, please get in touch with your Account Manager.

Going forward we will also be adding MFA as standard to any new Microsoft 365 accounts that we set up.

But what is Multifactor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security which makes it harder for hackers to attack and to gain unauthorised access to your email account.

When you sign into your online accounts, you have to prove you are who you say you are, in order to gain access. Traditionally you have done this by inputting your username (or email address) and a password.

Unfortunately, this is not enough anymore. Usernames are easy to find or guess (especially if it is your email address) and people tend to pick simple passwords or use the same password on multiple sites to make it easier for them (anyone using password1 still?)

This is why most online services including banks, social media, shopping, and your Microsoft 365 account, have added Multifactor Authentication to make your account more secure.

How does it work?

The most common kinds of second factors are:

  • Something you know – like a password or PIN or a code that can be sent to your phone via text. Many services also support a specialised app called an authenticator which has a constantly rotating set of codes you can use whenever needed and it doesn’t even require an internet connection.
  • Something you have – such as a smartphone recognition or a secure USB key
  • Something you are – for example a fingerprint or facial recognition.

Microsoft have put together a great video about Multifactor Authentication which you can find here >

Make sure you only approve the MFA request if you have actually requested it yourself!

But don’t we already have secure systems?

Even the most secure systems are not 100%. MFA is a simple way to add an extra layer of protection to all your accounts.

Even the smallest businesses are at risk of hackers trying to steal your identity, to gain access to your data, financial information or customer database.

Microsoft now even include MFA as the number one item in their “Top 10 ways to secure business data” – see graphic below taken from the Microsoft website.

Please get in touch with your sales contact if you need any advice about adding MFA to your accounts. It is a very easy way to add another layer of security to your systems.

If you would like to learn more about how to increase your cyber security then please give NCS IT a call – we are here to advise and help you to develop an IT strategy with cyber security at its core.


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