What is MFA?

Written by Charles Gardner

July 8, 2021

Have you ever been logging into an account and had to type in a code that was texted to your phone? If so, you’ve dealt with MultiFactor Authentication, maybe without even noticing. Often referred to as MFA (or 2FA for 2-Factor Authentication), this added security measure has become a necessity in the modern online workspace. At Sterling Ideas, we use MFA to protect ourselves and our clients, so this month we’re going to talk about what it is and why we use it.

Multifactor Authentication – A Powerful Security Tool for IT

You know how in movies whenever something super top-secret needs to be accessed there are always two people, one on either side of the room, who have to put in their keys and turn them at the same time to unlock the secret room or access the launch codes? Think of MFA as a miniature, everyday version of that. Multifactor authentication is a security tool that adds an extra step of authentication (and protection) when you sign in to various accounts or apps. This extra layer of security can look like many different things: you may have to type in a code that is sent to your phone, answer a call and press a certain button, click Accept on an alert, or scan your fingerprint. The basic idea is to add a second layer of security that is specific to you after you enter your username and password. Sterling will talk about why we use MFA next week, but for now, just know that MFA is important for the security of your information.

As cybercrime rises, many companies are beginning to recognize that standard usernames and passwords are no longer enough to protect your information and have begun requiring different forms of MFA. Keep an eye out for what sites you have MFA setup on and which ones you don’t–because maybe you should! You’ll have a better understanding after reading next week’s blog, “Why use MFA?”

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