In the online space, many people are concerned with keeping their personal and business data secure, and for a good reason. For instance, many tools and techniques used by cyber criminals are more sophisticated than they have ever been. However, many breaches, even the breaches that make headline news, could have been prevented by straightforward security measures. To illustrate, hackers will access systems the way they have done so for years, by exploiting human error. In an increasingly digital world, people need work from home solutions that also ensure cyber security. Since Office 365 is used in most work environments, a fitting solution is Office 365 managed services.

In most cyber attacks, the threat actor has to steal valid credentials from an end-user. One effective method is social engineering or manipulating a user into giving up information like usernames and passwords. Further, hackers know that most people reuse the same password across multiple sites because it’s more convenient. Once a cyber criminal gains access to the user’s password, then they can quickly access bank accounts, cloud providers, healthcare portals, social media sites, and more. Unfortunately, many hackers find success this way.

However, there is a way around this threat that keeps data safe across sites, including Microsoft Office 365. It is by multifactor authentication (MFA), also known as two-factor authentication (2FA). How do these protocols work? MFA mandates the end-user provide at least two forms of data for authentication, which may include: Something you HAVE, something you ARE, and something you KNOW.

By leveraging MFA, the end-user can prevent social engineering or brute force attacks from success. As a result, if a cyber criminal does obtain an end user’s password, the hacker still has to provide a second form of information to enable authentication. Since cyber thieves won’t know the second piece of information, their potential breach is prevented.

In addition to MFA, it’s crucial to utilize a password management system and Microsoft Office 365 managed services to ensure comprehensive cyber security protocols are in place. The cost and impact of data breaches are on the rise. Adequate cyber security requires proactive vigilance with the right partner.

Important things to know about MFA

The critical component of MFA, and why it is so effective, is that it requires two various factors. A password and a memorized PIN are two types of things you know which can be compromised. On the other hand, having one factor as things you know and the second factor as things you have is much more beneficial.

Moreover, MFA is quite convenient. Some people worry that the second step takes too much time, at least until they’re hit with a data breach, and then they have something of grave concern. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to do everything you can to prevent hacking? Besides, the first factor is often only used the first time you sign in to an application or device. The extra security comes into effect because the cyber thief is probably not using your device, so they will need the second factor, which they won’t have.

If you use Microsoft Office 365, you’ll be pleased to hear the suite supports adding a second factor for authentication. Please keep reading to learn how to use it.

Enable MFA on Microsoft Office 365

Once your Microsoft Office 365 services admin has enabled your administration for MFA, the next step is user account configuration to add the extra layer of security. With Microsoft 365, you will get a dynamically generated verification code sent to your phone.

Once you sign in to your Microsoft Office 365 Office account with your password, you will receive a prompt within a dialog box asking for more information. Select “Next.” The Microsoft Authenticator app is free and is the default method for authentication. If you don’t already have it, install it on your mobile device to easily follow the prompts.

On the other hand, you can use SMS messages by verifying your mobile number when asked. Microsoft Office 365 will send a 6-digit verification code to your device. Now, the next time you sign in to Microsoft Office 365, you’ll receive a prompt for the second factor. You can type the verification code sent to the Microsoft Authenticator app or via SMS.

Final thought

With MFA, it may seem like a trade-off between cyber security and convenience. But, Microsoft Office 365 makes it easy.

If you’re ready to learn how Microsoft Office 365 managed services can help your business prevent a data breach, contact SSI today.