Multi-Factor Authentication: Your Key to Improving Your Network Login Security
Network login security sounds like a simple concept. We’ve been logging into work computers for years. Why discuss it? The old standard of username and password is simply not sufficient any longer. One layer of security will not protect the ultimate place where business data is accessed: the Windows desktop or laptop PC.
The pitfalls are numerous:
- leaving an old network account enabled after an employee departure
- not changing passwords on a regular basis
- making passwords too easy to guess or too hard to remember
- hackers or coworkers intercepting (or being willingly given!) a password
Something You Have, Something You Know
You eliminate risk by adding a second factor of authentication. In a multi-factor authentication (MFA) login system, network login is impossible without something you have and something you know. And multi-factor authentication advantages are numerous.
The something you have is typically a keyfob or smart card that is plugged into the computer and the something you know is a password or PIN code. For Microsoft networks, Chortek uses and recommends Duo Security. This solution requires users to log into their computer normally, and then click “OK” on a pop-up on their smartphone. For users who are not comfortable with installing the Duo app on their smartphone, a hardware “token” can be purchased which allows the user to enter a 6 digit code each time, instead.
In the scenario where a laptop is lost/stolen and MFA been implemented, the laptop still requires both factors of authentication. MFA logins can be disabled centrally from a management console, further protecting the business network, should an employee leave employment with the company and forget to uninstall the Duo token.
If your business has not implemented a multi-factor login solution, you cannot eliminate the risk of a password being acquired and used by an unauthorized person. We hope this brief overview has given you a better picture of multi-factor authentication advantages and why it is in your best interest to protect your data in this way.