When it comes to online security, there are a few best practices you should always follow. Use a strong password, keep your applications and anti-virus software updated, and turn on multi-factor authentication. Used in tandem with your password, multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts, applications, and VPN connections. Multi-factor authentication offers major benefits for both businesses and individuals. It helps people keep their information safe, reduces identity theft, and reduces the risk of password hacking.

A man uses multi-factor authentication as he logs on to his laptop in a coffee shop.

How does multi-factor authentication work?

You may have heard of two-factor authentication, where a password and another authentication method, such as receiving a temporary code via text, email or an authenticator mobile app, protect your account. Multi-factor authentication takes it one step further.

In addition to your password, multi-factor authentication requires multiple verification methods to log in to any account, application, or VPN. For example, you might receive a code via email or text and use an authenticator mobile app to gain access to your account. Because it uses multiple methods to authenticate you, multi-factor authentication protects your account from unauthorized logins. Compared to even two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication offers security benefits that can help keep your accounts safe.

Use multi-factor authentication on your account when available so that you have as many layers of security as possible. Use two-factor authentication only if multi-factor authentication isn’t available.

How to set up multi-factor authentication

Typically, you can set up multi-factor authentication in the security settings of your account or application. There may be options to receive temporary verification codes to your email, cell phone and authenticator mobile application. Some accounts might also let you answer a previously set security question each time you log in. One multi-factor authentication method is answering a security question instead of using an authenticator mobile application if you don’t own a smartphone. You can also receive a one-time verification code as a text message if you don’t have access to the listed email address anymore. But the safest and most secure option is to use all available multi-factor authentication methods on your accounts. 

Benefits of multi-factor authentication

Access to private information has never been easier with the current digital era. Multi-factor authentication can improve cybersecurity levels and can protect your sensitive information in cyberspace.  Using this additional layer of security can protect your sensitive information in the digital world. It can also keep track of who is logging into your organization’s systems if you run a business. Multi-factor authentication reduces your chances of having your identity stolen and can reduce the risk of someone finding out your password.

A woman inputs a code from her phone on her laptop to verify her identity.

Benefit 1: Control who has access to your data

Businesses can use multi-factor authentication to control who has access to their systems, software and online accounts. They can require employees to set up multi-factor authentication before accessing any of the necessary accounts. Businesses can also use tools, such as single-sign-on options, that allow employees to access all necessary systems and accounts after completing multi-factor authentication once each day. This process can reduce the risk of a company data breach and make the security process convenient for employees.

Benefit 2: Reduce identity theft

Hackers can access confidential information now more than ever through phishing scams, computer viruses and unauthorized links sent via text messages. The challenges of cybersecurity make it easier for a stranger to access sensitive information, such as social security numbers, credit card information and email addresses. However, multi-factor authentication can help prevent hackers from accessing your account details. Requiring another step of verification to your accounts will keep you in control of who can log into them even if you accidentally click an unfamiliar link in your email or text message inbox.

Benefit 3: Reduce the risk of password hacking

Some of us have the habit of using the same password, or a slight variation of it, for more than one account. Creating strong passwords can help prevent password fatigue and can make it harder for a stranger to hack your account. Multi-factor authentication can help you if you are tired of having several different, complicated passwords for various accounts. Use multi-authentication methods to block unauthorized access to your account because the person won’t be able to complete the verification process.

A person enters the code they received on their phone on their computer.

Other ways to increase account security

Multi-factor authentication is just one of many ways to add security to your systems and online accounts. Keep your passwords private by not writing them down and by not saving the passwords when using a public computer or public wi-fi connection. Reduce the risk of hackers gaining access to your information by hardwiring your internet connection instead of using Wi-Fi.

Last words

Multi-factor authentication offers numerous benefits for both businesses and individuals. It can help prevent unauthorized access to your accounts in case your passwords get compromised. Using multi-factor authentication can help keep your information and your identity safe. Visit CenturyLink’s Security Hub to find out more ways to secure your online presence and protect your confidential information.

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