12 Mar 2021
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Xero launches authentication app to boost account security

Xero is upping its security measures with a new way to authenticate small and medium businesses (SMBs) and their advisors.

The company has launched a new authentication app called Xero Verify which provides a new way for users to access their Xero accounts.

According to Xero, multifactor authentication (MFA) is an important way of protecting its customers, which is why the company is gradually rolling it out to its entire subscriber base - starting with a phased approach for New Zealand subscribers.

This year all subscribers must set up multifactor authentication. They can choose between at least two different factors, such as a password and the Xero Verify app.

According to Xero’s chief customer officer Rachael Powell, a marked increase in security incidents eventuated during the pandemic last year, so it’s important for Xero to prioritise customer security.

The company cites statistics from CERT NZ, which noted that during the first half of 2020, cyber attacks rose 42% year on year.

“With 80% of data breaches being preventable, the roll out of mandatory MFA is a really important way to provide our customers extra protection,” she explains.

The app is also designed to secure businesses that may have changed how they operate - particularly online - over the last year.

Xero New Zealand and Pacific Islands managing director Craig Hudson that more people are working and accessing documents remotely, so they’re prime targets for attacks.

“We know small business owners are busy and want to make things easier for themselves and their
teams, while not sacrificing security. Multifactor authentication is an essential step towards protecting your valuable data.”

Powell adds, “We’ve already had incredible feedback on the app during the testing phase with advisors and small businesses, and know that it will provide peace of mind that their sensitive data has an additional layer of protection.”

Xero has offered two-step-authentication since 2015 and made this mandatory for Australian partners and customers in 2018. Now it’s New Zealand’s turn.

Globally, Xero has been heavily padding out its capabilities, most recently with its acquisition of Denmark-based workforce management platform Planday.

The company will integrate Planday’s real-time view of staffing needs and payroll costs, alongside key business performance metrics across Europe, with plans to expand into other markets where Xero has a presence.

Xero states that it is ‘committed to encouraging and supporting an open ecosystem that prioritises customer choice, allowing them to select the solutions that best suit their needs’.

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