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    Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to Boost Cloud Service Security: A Must-Have Guide for Businesses

    Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to Boost Cloud Service Security: A Must-Have Guide for Businesses

    In the internet-powered era, organisations access data and services hosted in the cloud from anywhere in the world, presenting an enticing opportunity for cybercriminals. Microsoft reports that it combats over 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts to their cloud services daily.

    Such data breaches typically exploit weak, default, or stolen passwords, necessitating robust password hygiene. Given that an individual has to remember between 70-130 passwords, password reuse has become alarmingly common, further escalating the risk of breaches.

    Organisations have turned to cloud services to share access to company files, often including sensitive customer data. Despite the superior security provided by many cloud services, if access is secured merely by a password, it introduces a significant vulnerability to the data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

    Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), an essential cybersecurity measure, provides a solution to these challenges. In addition to passwords, MFA requires users to validate their identity using one or more other factors, thus significantly enhancing security.

    Implementing MFA for Cloud Services

    Trusted Device

    MFA techniques that utilise a trusted device can rely on a user possessing a specific device to confirm their identity. Organisations can configure their cloud services to only accept authentication attempts from within their trusted networks. This ensures authentication is only possible if the users are directly connected to that trusted network or have remote access to it over a virtual private network (VPN).

    Alternatively, remote workers can access online services only on trusted devices managed by the organisation.

    Authenticator Application

    An authenticator app generates a single-use password that changes every minute, adding an extra layer of security. Alternatively, the app can receive push notifications, prompting the user to confirm or deny their current login attempt.

    Physically Separate Token

    A physical security token is another excellent MFA technique. It could be FIDOuniversal2nd factor authenticators such as YubiKey, Smartcards unlocked by a PIN code, or devices such as RSA tokens and chip-and-PIN card readers that generate a single-use code for each login attempt.

    Known Trusted Account

    These techniques send codes to a registered email address or phone number. The service sends an SMS message or makes a voice call to deliver a single-use code to the registered user. Despite not being the most secure type of MFA, an SMS message still offers significant advantages over not using MFA. Alternatively, a single-use code can be emailed to the user.

    MFA is not necessary every time a user connects to a cloud service; however, there are critical instances where extra authentication is warranted. These include logging on to a service using a new device, accessing a high-impact service, performing high-risk actions, or when the authentication is determined as high-risk.

    MFA creates a security layer incredibly challenging for attackers to breach. With MFA enabled, knowing or cracking the password is insufficient, blocking an estimated 99.9% of attacks. In essence, MFA is a crucial strategy in securing cloud services, safeguarding your organisation’s data, and ensuring your digital operations’ integrity.

    Enhancing Cloud Security with Multi-Factor Authentication: A Key Step Towards Cyber Essentials Compliance

    MFA, while a powerful tool in its own right, is even more impactful when integrated into a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, such as the Cyber Essentials scheme. Adhering to Cyber Essentials standards, including robust use of MFA, can provide a foundational level of cybersecurity. This helps mitigate common cyber threats and demonstrates your commitment to data protection, fostering trust with your clients and stakeholders.

    As highlighted in our Cyber Essentials compliance guide, MFA is a core part of the certification requirements. The guidelines underpin the importance of securing cloud services and provide an actionable blueprint for businesses to fortify their digital landscape. With MFA, you can strengthen your cybersecurity posture, better protect your digital assets, and make significant strides toward achieving Cyber Essentials certification.

    In today’s digital age, MFA is no longer an optional luxury but a necessary line of defence. Implement it across all cloud services to safeguard your organisation’s data and contribute to a safer digital world.
    For more information on becoming Cyber Essentials compliant and effectively implementing MFA, refer to our comprehensive guide here. Let’s strengthen your security armour together, one step at a time.

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    Read more:

    What Is Push-Bombing & How Can You Prevent It?

    Microsoft 365 makes Multi-Factor Authentication easier

    Don’t forget your phone when you think about Cyber Security

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