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We’ve all heard of multi-factor authentication (MFA), but is it really necessary for all your accounts and applications—including Microsoft 365? The truth is that when you implement MFA, you’re putting a nearly impenetrable barrier between hackers and a data breach caused by human error.  Here’s why experts recommend never using Microsoft 365 without multi-factor authentication:

What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication is like a safe with two different access codes—one code might be a set of numbers, while the other is your fingerprint or a personal question that only you know the answer to.  The great thing about MFA is that a criminal might be able to easily figure out the first combination (a password), but it’s much more difficult to get past both combinations (a password plus a face ID, fingerprint, security question, or text code). In other words, multi-factor authentication combats unauthorized access to your accounts by combining your password with either something you physically possess or a biometric. 

Is MFA Really Effective in Protecting My Data?

Thankfully, the answer is a huge yes!  Microsoft says that using MFA can prevent 99.9% of attacks on your account. The tech giant found that there are over 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts to their cloud services every day. And since 73% of passwords are used in multiple locations, one breach can lead to dozens of others—a catastrophe that could be simply prevented by MFA in most cases. By adding an extra layer of security, you can rest assured knowing that your data is much better protected.

How Do I Implement MFA on My Microsoft 365 Account?

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to implement MFA on your Microsoft 365 account: 
  1. Log in to the Microsoft 365 admin center.
  2. Go to the Users tab.
  3. Select which users you want to enable MFA for. 
  4. Decide how you want your employees to receive their codes (for example, via text, app, or phone call).
  5. Create App Passwords (a 16-character code that can be used in place of a password) for employees who need to access Microsoft 365 from a non-browser application. 
It’s important to note that you should never give out App Passwords to just anyone. They should only be given to people who absolutely need them, and you should keep track of who has them. While setting up MFA seems simple enough, an IT service provider can be extremely valuable in not only managing your MFA and which devices they’re being used on, but also in training your employees on how to properly use MFA across every account. 

What Are the Risks of Not Using MFA for Microsoft 365?

The risks of not using MFA for Microsoft 365 are serious. If a hacker is able to gain access to just one employee’s password, they can easily use that same password to get into other accounts. Once they’re in, they can wreak havoc on your systems and steal sensitive data. Here are some of the common risks associated with password breaches on Microsoft 365:
  • Phishing Attacks: Without MFA for Microsoft 365 and security training, phishing emails become much riskier. Employees may knowingly or unknowingly hand over their login credentials to a hacker, giving them access to sensitive information.
  • Email and Data Leakage: If your Microsoft 365 data is breached, the hacker will have access to everything saved in the software, including emails and data in OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Non-Compliance Penalties: For some industries, using MFA is a compliance regulation, and not doing so could put you at risk of non-compliance penalties.
  • Reputation Damage: Your business’s reputation could be seriously damaged if customers find out that you don’t have adequate security measures in place. Customers will lose trust in your company.

Is There a Downside to Using MFA?

The only downside to using MFA is that it’s an extra step in the login process. The setup time is quick, and it is user-friendly to understand and implement. As mentioned, it is helpful to invest in an IT professional who can help you manage your devices and which are properly using MFA, but other than that, there are no additional costs associated with MFA.

Prevent Data Breaches with Busch Consulting

If you’re looking for a way to protect your business from data breaches, Busch Consulting can help. We offer a comprehensive suite of security tools that we can help you implement, monitor, and manage. We’ll work with you to assess your security needs and develop a plan that fits your budget and business goals! Contact us today to learn more about our security services and how we can help you protect your data.