What is Multi-Factor Authentication

Your clients may not realize it, but they’ve probably been using multi-factor authentication for years. Multi-factor authentication is used on banking and credit websites, email and social media. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recommends it, saying, “Use multi-factor authentication, when it’s available. Multi-factor authentication adds another layer of protection against attacks.” So what is multi-factor authentication?

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication is one way to combat stolen passwords. Multi-factor authentication systems rely on verification of two or more factors from the following three groups:

  • First: Something you know, such as your user ID and password
  • Second: Something you have, such as your mobile device
  • Third: Something you are, such as your fingerprint or other biometrics

Why do I need Multi-Factor Authentication?

As data encryption has made it harder for hackers to access data, they’ve found poor password security to be the weak link protecting sensitive information. Enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible will protect your firm from data breaches by making it harder for scammers to steal passwords.

  • Between January and May 2017, 177 tax professionals or firms reported data thefts involving client information. These breaches affected thousands of clients.
  • The IRS currently receives 3-5 data theft reports per week from tax practitioners. Not all data losses are from phishing scams, but it is a common tactic.
  • The Anti-Phishing Work Group reports a 65% increase in phishing attacks from 2015 to 2016. They have seen more than 92,000 unique attacks per month.

Our new infographic explains what multi-factor authentication is and why your firm needs it:

Multi-Factor Authentication: What is it and why do I need it?

To learn more about protecting your firm, download our information security toolkit today.


Aimee Hall

Product Marketing Manager at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting

All stories by: Aimee Hall