Microsoft Authenticator: Secure authentication for RIAs and financial advisors

Microsoft Authenticator: Secure authentication for RIAs and financial advisors

Registered investment advisors (RIAs) and financial advisors like you are always looking for the best way to protect your online accounts and your clients’ data. You want to make sure that only authorized individuals can access confidential information, and that if someone tries to hack into any of your accounts, they won’t be able to do so.

One way to add an extra layer of security to your login process is to enable multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to provide two or more pieces of evidence — also called “factors” — to verify their identity before they can access an account. These factors include:

  • Knowledge factors – something you know, like a password or a personal identification number
  • Possession factors – something you have, like a one-time password (OTP) sent to your mobile phone number or a unique code generated by an authentication app
  • Inherence factors – something inherent to you as an individual, like a fingerprint or a retina scan
  • Location factors – somewhere you are, like your IP or MAC address
  • Behavior factors – something you do, like recreating a specific pattern or picture password

SMS-based authentication has been the most popular form of MFA, but it’s not the most secure. Hackers can intercept the text messages containing the OTPs and use them to access accounts. For RIAs and financial advisors like you, using the Microsoft Authenticator app is a more secure alternative.

Related reading: Biometrics authentication for data security at your RIA

What is Microsoft Authenticator?

Microsoft Authenticator is a mobile app that provides an extra layer of security when you’re logging in to your Microsoft account or other accounts that support two-factor authentication. You can use the app in multiple ways, including:

  • As a replacement for text message-based OTPs – When you’re logging in to your account, Microsoft Authenticator will generate a unique code that you’ll enter as the second factor.
  • To sign in without a password – When you’re logging in to your work or personal Microsoft account, you can choose to use the app as your primary login method. You’ll enter your username and then scan your fingerprint or face or enter your PIN on your mobile phone.
  • To approve sign-ins – You can set up Microsoft Authenticator so that you’ll get a notification on your phone whenever someone tries to sign in to your account. You can then approve or deny the sign-in attempt with just a tap.

What are the benefits of using Microsoft Authenticator?

The Microsoft Authenticator app is more secure than SMS-based authentication because hackers can’t intercept the time-based codes generated by the app. Unless they have your phone, they won’t be able to access your online accounts. What’s more, Microsoft regularly updates the app with new security features, so you can be sure that your logins are as safe as possible.

In addition to being more secure, Microsoft Authenticator is also more convenient because the codes and prompts are generated automatically. This means you can sign in to your account right away without having to wait for a text message with the OTP.

And because the Authenticator app is part of the Microsoft platform, it’s easy for RIAs and financial advisors like you who are already using Microsoft products to add an extra layer of security to your login process. You can be sure that the setup process will be painless and integration with your existing workflow will be seamless.

Related reading: Why your RIA should use multi factor authentication tools from Microsoft

How do you set up Microsoft Authenticator?

Before you can start using Microsoft Authenticator, you’ll need to download the latest version of the app from the App Store or Google Play.

You’ll also need to add your work, personal, and third-party accounts to the app. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Open the Authenticator app.
  2. Tap the plus sign (+) in the upper-right corner.
  3. Scan the QR code or follow the instructions provided in your account settings.

For detailed instructions on how to set up different accounts, check out the following Microsoft support pages:

Once you’ve added your accounts, you’re ready to start using Microsoft Authenticator for secure sign-ins.

Stay ahead of the curve with Microsoft Authenticator

As more and more companies move to adopt MFA, it’s important to choose a solution that is both secure and convenient. Microsoft Authenticator meets both of these criteria, making it the ideal choice for RIAs and financial advisory firms that constantly handle sensitive data.

If you need help getting started or want more information on how to secure your RIA or financial advisory firm, contact RIA WorkSpace today.