The Advantages of Multi-Factor Authentication for Municipal Software

Cybercrime and online theft are critical issues both large and small organizations need to address seriously.

Here are some examples. In April, 2020, Google confirmed its systems had identified over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails (source). In 2019 alone, hackers and cyber criminals attacked over 113 state and municipal government agencies. In fact, ransomware is becoming so costly for local governments, a bill introduced recently in the state of New York would ban the use of taxpayer funds to cover the cost of ransomware demands (source).

Organizations of all sizes can take the simple step of implementing multi-factor authentication to protect stakeholder data, and their organizational security.

What is multi-factor authentication, and what are the primary benefits?

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

When an end user (whether an employee or an external stakeholder) signs onto a website or platform, the process of entering a username and/or password is referred to as “authentication.” It’s traditionally been the easiest and fastest way to protect an account holder’s privacy, as well as preserving the security of a platform or an account.

Multi-factor authentication is often referred to as “two-step verification” because the software automatically requires a second step to log in. Now that stakeholders have access to multiple electronic devices, it’s more practical than ever to turn on multi-factor authentication for municipal software and other online services.

How Does Multi-Factor Authentication Work?

Imagine a stakeholder or account owner is signing in from a different device or is requesting a new password. In a two-step verification process, the end user is required to provide an additional identifier (usually an alpha-numeric code).  In the case of FastTrackGov, this code appears on the Duo app or is sent via SMS text message.

If an individual falls victim to a phishing scheme, or for any reason suffers a breach of their privacy or identity, two-step verification simply creates an additional layer of security. In this scenario, if a criminal is able to gain access to an online account, it’s unlikely they can go any further because it’s unlikely they also have the stakeholder’s cell phone.

Why Deploy Multi-Factor Authentication?

Identity theft is, simply put, a good business for criminal enterprises. It’s hard to track and can reap fast and almost immediate financial rewards. Stolen authentication credentials are often used to transmit malicious code to large enterprise environments. Once a malignant code has infected a database, hackers can demand ransomware, or carry out whatever further damage they intend.

Multi-factor authentication makes it much less likely a hacker will gain access to your encrypted data, protecting both your financial security and your reputation.

How Can We Help?

Hosted FastTrackGov now requires all users to use multi-factor authentication, using either a smartphone, tablet, or by a hardware token. We can also work with self-hosted sites to add MFA to harden their environment. With our extensive expertise working with both municipal and private organizations, we can tailor our cloud-based online platforms to your needs. We can help streamline all of your processes—like licensing, online applications, permitting, operations, and so much more.

Contact us today for a free demo.