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  • Writer's pictureJack Royle

What is Multi Factor Authentication?

Stopping the hackers with 1 text message.

Having your email account hacked is not only humiliating, it could cost you or your business a lot of money. Once into your account, the more sophisticated hacker will use that access to try to access other accounts you have access to, perhaps even financial accounts, understand your business relationships, and ultimately persuade someone to transfer them money. In business, a hacked email account represents a potentially serious data breach.

Even if you have a reasonably good password, it's possible it may have been leaked along with your username and once in possession of the leaked password list, the hacker can get straight in without even guessing your credentials.

One of the best ways to protect your email accounts from hackers is to enable multi factor authentication. This adds another layer of protection to the email account so that not only do you have to log in with a username and password, but you also have to enter a code from a text message sent to your mobile or a code in an app on your phone. This system is also called "2 factor authentication", and it's likely that you have already come across it in accounts with services such as gmail, some banking services, and Amazon.

The good news is that if you have a Microsoft 365 account (previously called Office 365 account) this can be enabled at no cost to you, and if we manage your Microsoft 365 account we can enable this for all your mailboxes and support your users to set this up.

You may think that this extra layer when logging in is an unnecessary pain, but it really isn't - MFA is quite clever, and does not require a text message every time you log in. As long as you log in from the same machine and the same location you won't be asked for a text every time, indeed it probably won't ask you again for at least a month or so. Only if you move location or try to log in from another computer will the system want to issue the MFA check again.

MFA at Microsoft 365 is very easy to setup once enabled, you simply tell Microsoft your mobile number and off you go… the only downside is that some applications, including Outlook desktop application and Skype for Business do not properly support MFA, and have to use "app passwords" to get access. These are a bit more troublesome to set up, and we have a separate document and video that covers this aspect in more detail.

If you'd like support with setting up MFA on your Microsoft 365 mailboxes, get in touch!

Watch our video where we go over everything to do with MFA in more detail:

We even have a document outlining all you need to do once MFA is set up. Download it for yourself.

MFA_Dental IT
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© Liam McNaughton, Dental IT, April 2021

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