Why Multi-Factor Authentication is Key to Modern Cybersecurity

Jun 27, 2022
IT LeadershipSecurity

The importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. Learn why multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is one of the best ways to ensure security.

Credit: tsingha25

According to recent data from the Identity Theft Resource Center, there was a 14% increase in data breaches and compromises in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021. What’s more — this is the third consecutive year where breaches have increased in Q1.

With cyberattacks becoming increasingly common, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. One of the best ways to ensure security? Multi-factor authentication, or MFA.

Multi-factor authentication requires users to provide two or more pieces of evidence in order to gain access to a network, application, or system, and can dramatically decrease the likelihood of infiltration. These pieces of information fall into three categories:

  • Something you know, like a password or PIN
  • Something you have, like a physical fob or message sent to your mobile device
  • Something on your body, like a fingerprint or facial scan

Cyberattacks can be devastating to businesses, impacting the balance sheet, customer confidence, and brand reputation. According to a 2021 IBM report, the average cost of a data breach increased by 10% between 2020 and 2021, rising from $3.86 million to $4.24 million.

While a tightening regulatory market with a growing focus on personally identifiable information (PII) has created mandates for many organizations to implement MFA – PCI for payment processing, HIPAA for the healthcare sector, and GDPR for companies operating in the EU – many organizations have settled for “over the top” MFA. In this practice, multiple factors are required to access a network, but not its systems and applications, where organizations’ most critical data is often stored. Even for companies that operate on mainframes – which are some of the most secure IT infrastructure on the market – incorporating MFA into every layer is critical.

For instance, let’s say a hacker gains access to an organization’s network, even though their network is protected with MFA. Once inside the network, they can easily steal static passwords and access downstream applications. Because it is only protected by network MFA, once the user has gained access, the network trusts the whole system they are running their mainframe from. And if their device has been infiltrated by malware? It’s trusted, too.

By implementing MFA on the mainframe in addition to the network, enterprises can better protect themselves from breaches and their far-reaching fallout. It is critical that these MFA solutions can communicate with one another to ensure the most streamlined and secure protection process. Rocket’s MFA solutions do this by providing web service APIs that allow secure and simple integration with MFA server functionality, enabling the solution to integrate with terminal emulators and other applications within the mainframe.

While most organizations today understand the importance of cybersecurity, if your organization is relying on outdated methods to secure IT infrastructure, the time to modernize those processes is now.

To learn more about Rocket’s MFA solutions, click here.