Category Archives: Infrastructure Services

Microsoft, Google and Apple all agree: Use Multi Factor Athentication (MFA or 2FA)

“When both Google and Microsoft are recommending the same thing, it’s probably a good time to start following their advice.” – ZDNet

Apple 2fa mfa

With the “big 3” in agreement, it’s time to listen.  Apple not longer makes it optional.   Microsoft says it stops 99.9% of hack attempts and requires it for any Microsoft Partner with access to customer data.   Google is also recommending MFA.

There is a lot of information on the internet about which MFA (or 2FA) tool is best.  It’s pretty clear that most solutions recommend using an app and not a text code. Text codes are not transferred securely and therefor can be intercepted giving you less security.  Bottom line, if you are not using an MFA authenticator app, you are less secure.  Every company or organization needs to have MFA protecting their email system, customer information and financial data.  Passwords alone just don’t provide a reasonable level of protection.

But is MFA enough?

MFA is a great start but it’s still can be defeated by social engineering (tricking a person to do what they normally would not) attacks.  If you are in a business with security and reporting requirements (Legal, Banking, Health Care, etc.), it is not.  You need to have “more layers in your tin foil hat” – Matt Soseman,  Microsoft.

Google and Microsoft both have security platforms that greatly enhance security.   As I have certifications in Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS) platform, I’ll use that as an example.  EMS is an Office 365 add on that can protect not only Microsoft Platforms, where it clearly out shines all other products, but also 3rd party apps.  It’s not simple to configure initially because there are so many amazing features.  But the many services bundled can protect everything in your environment.  And save a good deal of money compared to cobbling together  multiple products.

EMS is a Azure based cloud product.  No servers are required for most environments.  EMS can protect your PCs, Mobile iOS and Andriod Devices (cooperate supplied or BYOD), Macs, and servers.  It can also protect almost any cloud service (Office 365, G Suite, Facebook, DropBox, etc.).    EMS incorporates many tools including MFA, Mobile Management, Antivirus, and Single Sign on.  There are many other tools in the base product (EMS E3, free to non-Profits under 50 users) that I won’t go into.  EMS starts at a very reasonable monthly charge of $8.80 per user for commercial accounts.

Once a basic level of security is achieved with EMS E3, organizations, can add more and more “tin foil” layers of security while making access to secure systems easier.  For example, see my earlier article about getting rid of passwords on this blog.

The highest end version of Microsoft’s security suite (Microsoft 365 E5) can even monitor your Firewall logs for security threats and take automatic action to block compromised systems and accounts from your data.

At General Networks we strongly recommend EMS and Microsoft 365 as complete security services.

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Making Security Easy – Get Rid of Passwords

The security landscape has changed

The truth to security is: Passwords alone can no longer protect your data.  If your not using a multi-layer security system your going to get hacked sooner or later.  I think everyone has heard that getting hacked can be extremely expensive.  But, are you aware that it is also currently one of the leading causes of business failure.

What can be done?

The first step is to deploy Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to your login accounts controlling email, financial and file systems.   While no security system is perfect, MFA raises the bar on protecting your system.

The next step is to deploy Single Sign On (SSO).  SSO makes life easy for employees as they can use a single sign-on to login in to all of your organizations resources.

Education of “social engineering” attacks and other current risk is important.  Everyone that touches your organizations data needs to know how they fit in to keeping the system secure.

And our final recommendation:

Get rid of passwords

Replace passwords with facial recognition or fingerprint readers.  This gets rid of the need to remember complex passwords, password management software and re-using the same password over and over.  Suddenly security becomes easy for everyone.  No more forgotten passwords,

Let us help you make the transition easy

General Networks can help you deploy the right set of technology services that meats your security requirements and your budget.

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