The Crucial Role of Multifactor Authentication at Public Housing Authorities

In the digital age, public housing authorities, along with many other organizations, are heavily reliant on digital tools. This shift, while beneficial, brings the challenge of safeguarding sensitive data. Multifactor Authentication (MFA) stands out as a key solution in the realm of cybersecurity. Let’s explore the significance of MFA for public housing authorities.

Cyberattacks: A Growing Concern

Microsoft faces an astounding 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts to their cloud services every day. Many of these breaches occur without sophisticated methods. Sometimes, a single vulnerable credential or an outdated application is all it takes. The main vulnerabilities? Business email compromises, the use of outdated protocols, and the frequent reuse of passwords. With 73% of passwords being reused, attackers exploit commonly used ones with ease.

And it’s not just the big Fortune 500 companies dealing with attacks, either. Several times a year, we help PHAs recover from the fallout of an attack. It really can happen to anyone.

The Strength of MFA

MFA is a robust security protocol that requires users to validate their identity using at least two distinct methods. This often includes the standard username-password combination, supplemented by something tangible like a cellphone, a secret PIN, or unique biometric data.

Identity Management firm Okta reveals that cybercriminals possess over 15 billion stolen credentials. With MFA in place, accessing data becomes significantly tougher for these criminals. Microsoft further supports this by noting that MFA can prevent up to 99.9% of account breaches.

Real-world Data

During the RSA 2020 security conference, Alex Weinert from Microsoft shared that 99.9% of compromised Microsoft enterprise accounts hadn’t adopted MFA. To put it in perspective, only 11% had MFA activated. This oversight, combined with lax password practices, led to over 1.2 million accounts being breached in January 2020.

Benefits of MFA

  1. Enhanced Authentication: MFA strengthens authentication, minimizing the risks associated with compromised passwords.
  2. Adaptable Security: As workplaces change, MFA solutions like Adaptive MFA adjust by evaluating user risk based on factors such as device type and location.
  3. User-Centric Approach: MFA boosts security without compromising user experience, eliminating frequent password resets and intricate policies.

Wrapping Up

For public housing authorities, safeguarding resident data and operational information is of utmost importance. MFA is a pivotal step in this direction. By acknowledging the existing threats and adopting MFA, public housing authorities can better protect their residents and serve their communities.


Microsoft Security Blog
Okta on MFA
MapleTronics on Office 365 and MFA

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Is SOC 2 Compliance Important for PHAs?

Is SOC 2 Compliance Important for PHAs?

As a trusted technology advisor to hundreds of top performing Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), Emphasys takes information security very seriously.

To formalize and quantify a company's internal controls related to information security, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) developed a compliance requirement called SOC 2. SOC 2 is designed for those providers who store customer data in the cloud, which means any affordable housing technology company storing customer data must meet SOC 2 compliance requirements in order to minimize risk and exposure to a PHA's data.

The SOC 2 requirement is more than just a technical audit. It establishes that a company follows strict information security procedures and policies, including the security, availability, processing, integrity, and confidentiality of customer data. Further, being SOC 2 certified assures a client that information security at the provider is in line with the special needs of today's cloud requirements.

Be sure to ask your housing software vendor if they are SOC 2 compliant when shopping for your PHA's next business management software solution. Mitigating risks is a very important part of running a PHA and partnering with a vendor who is SOC2 certified will ensure that you are working with an organization that complies with all of the Trust Service Principles of security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy.

Emphasys is pleased to report that we are SOC 2 Type 1 certified.


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