Now more than ever, an increasing number of us are using online services and systems that require us to set up user names and passwords in response to the requirement to work remotely from offices and schools. This can increase the risk of online accounts becoming compromised as hackers will have a greater pool of credentials to choose from and particularly when users use the same password for multiple accounts.

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), where a user has to provide more than one type of credentials in order to log in or access an account, has been widely adopted by organisations and individuals in recent years as a security measure to reduce the risk of account details being compromised. In fact, it would be fair to say that MFA is now becoming commonplace, as we start to use MFA for an ever increasing number of online services such as online banking.

So what has led to the prevalence of MFA in society today? Cyber attackers will target accounts that hold personal details either to sell them on or to hold the individual/organisation to ransom. The more sensitive the data that can be accessed, the higher the value. Recent evidence shows that around 83% of successful cyber-attacks were due to compromised account credentials. What is the significance of this? Well the answer is simple, 99% of these successful attacks could have been avoided if MFA had been in place .

Many schools will be incorporating MFA into their ICT security policy, particularly for staff who access online software that holds extremely sensitive information such as the personal data of pupils held in school management systems. Such additional security measures, alongside ongoing best practise around choosing strong passwords and saving password reminders securely, will continue to ensure the ongoing safeguarding of pupil and school data.

RM Unify provides schools with the option to roll-out MFA across the school, meaning schools that use RM Integris, RM Finance or SafetyNet can improve their cyber security on these systems today.

Find out how to activate MFA in RM Unify in this TEC article or check out the video tutorial in the RM Training Academy. Additional functionality coming soon will provide the ability to exclude a ‘trusted IP’ range from MFA, enabling schools to switch off MFA when users are accessing systems on-site (as MFA methods often require the use of a mobile phone which is not always practical within schools).

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