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Law Firms Should Secure Accounts with Dual Factor Authentication…Now.

Cybercrime is on the rise. According to a 2018 report published by global cybersecurity firm McAfee, more than two billion online users have had their personal data stolen or compromised over the last few years. Approximately 780,000 records were lost, and 80 billion malicious scans took place in 2017 alone. One in 13 web searches leads to malicious pages and 68% of breaches took months or longer to discover. This will only get worse.

Details have been released of the first class-action lawsuit against a law firm for inadequate security measures. A complaint filed in April 2016, Shore v. Johnson & Bell, alleges that the law firm engaged in “systematically exposing confidential client information and storing client data without adequate security.”  “There is no evidence the client’s information was actually compromised – only that it could have been.”

Considering the current climate, it's no wonder why websites and applications are increasingly adopting Dual Factor Authentication (2FA) for enhanced protection of users. Also known as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), this technology provides an effective layer of additional security for accounts. Popular services like Google, SalesForce, and Office 365 all use 2FA to protect their users and ensure that their private data doesn't end up in the wrong hands. In most cases, 2FA can be enabled for free and, according to Symantec, 80% of security breaches could be prevented with 2FA.

How Does Dual Factor Authentication Work?

In this digital era, having a strong password is no longer enough to keep your email and other online accounts secure. Cybercriminals are now using cutting-edge software to gain access to computers, web portals, and online banking apps. Dual Factor Authentication has emerged in response to these threats.

This technology uses several factors to secure your accounts. These include:

  • Something you know (such as a PIN number, secret questions, or passwords)
  • Something you have (such as a smartphone, laptop, voice, retina, or fingerprint)

Hackers may be able to easily crack your password to gain online access, but hijacking your mobile phone, for example, creates a considerable challenge to hackers. Even though these things can happen with 2FA, they're not common.

Additionally, the latest authenticator apps, such as Authy, Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and LastPass Authenticator, feature extra layers of security. Some will randomly generate six- or 10-digit codes that refresh every few seconds. This makes it a lot harder for cybercriminals to make their way into your system.

The idea behind this technology is that a second, or even third, authentication factor will compensate for the weaknesses of the other factor(s). The simple act of entering a code that you receive on your phone provides greater security than using a password alone.

2FA for Microsoft Office 365

The best way to understand how 2FA works is to use a real-life example. Let's take Office 365, for instance. In 2017, Microsoft began increasing its efforts to make passwords obsolete. The tech giant launched an app that completely eliminates the need to use passwords. Furthermore, users can turn on 2FA for all Microsoft services, including Office 365.

Once enabled, users continue to use Office 365 like usual. The difference is that they will have to enter the code received on their mobile devices into the system to log in. Alternately, using an application like Microsoft Authenticator allows users to simply approve an alert on their personal cell phone as a second form of authentication, bypassing the need for a code at all. Most services that use 2FA involve the similar experiences. With dual-factor authentication, you and your team will have peace of mind knowing that your accounts are secure and much less vulnerable to data breaches.

Why Not?

Again, in most cases, 2FA can be enabled for free. Even though logging into your accounts may take an additional step, it's worth the effort. Multi-Factor Authentication not only increases security, but it may also help law firms reduce their operational costs and maintain productivity in the workplace. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to deal with the embarrassment, hefty costs and legal repercussions of a data breach.

Terminal B is your trusted advisor on Dual Factor Authentication, Microsoft Office 365 and other technologies law firms rely on.

By Greg Bibeau