Passwords have been the primary form of authentication since the dawn of the internet. But, thanks to data breaches, malware and other forms of cyberattacks, it’s nearly impossible to secure an online or mobile account with just a password. Here are a few facts that illustrate why it’s important to use two-factor authentication to secure your business:
- 90% of passwords can be cracked in less than six hours.
- Sophisticated cybercriminals have the power to test billions of passwords every second.
- Two-thirds of people use the same password for all logins.
What is 2FA?
Two-factor authentication is also known as “2FA”, “two-step verification” and “multi-factor authentication.” It’s a form of authentication that goes beyond simply typing in a user name and password. It adds an extra layer of security to every online platform you access. Or, in the case of a business, every platform your employees access.
Step One of the authentication process is providing a user name and password. Step Two of two-factor authentication requires the user to provide another piece of information to complete the login process. For example:
- Verification Codes – like a secret passcode sent to a cell phone that must be entered to log in
- Answers to Personal Security Questions – like sharing the city where you were born or your first pet’s name
- Biometrics – like facial recognition or a fingerprint scan
There are many multi-factor authentication methods available. But, all of them provide a way of proving a login is legitimate that’s separate from the password.
Adding a second step of authenticating users’ identities makes it more difficult for a cyber-attacker to access data. This significantly reduces the likelihood of fraud, data loss and identify theft. Hence, why it’s so important to use two-factor authentication to secure your business.
How to Use Two-Factor Authentication to Secure Your Business
Companies that use any cloud-based software and/or have employees sign in through a virtual desktop should require 2FA for all users.
We recommend all our clients use multi-factor authentication. And, for our managed service clients, our package includes installing a software for all user accounts that requires 2FA as an added layer of cybersecurity. While we use Cisco’s Duo product, there are many different choices for software that will enable you to use two-factor authentication to secure your business.
Many multi-factor authentication systems require the user enter a passcode sent to their cell phones. That means employees will need to have their phones handy while logging in. And while performing the action to complete 2FA takes a few extra seconds, it is necessary, no matter the slight inconvenience.
A final thing to keep in mind is that, while 2FA adds an important layer of security, it doesn’t guarantee your data is safe from cyberattacks. The biggest risk to cybersecurity is social engineering and human error. In addition to a secure IT infrastructure, continually train your employees on how to identify suspicious activity. This will also help shore up cybersecurity defenses.