The Importance of 2 Factor Authentication (2FA)

Authenticating access to any account, network, or application is a vital process. Traditionally this has been achieved with a username and password. However, passwords can be weak and offer poor cybersecurity, putting companies, customers, and data at severe risk.

What is 2fa?

2 factor authentication is a two-step login that creates an extra layer of security. The second step of the login is another piece of information, other than a password.

Types of 2fa

There are various options for the second piece of information used in the authentication process. These options give your company a choice to use something appropriate to the systems and technology you use and the type of business or service you provide.

The types of two factor authentication include:

  • Biometrics
  • Memorable pin or answer
  • Verifiable information from a card, bill, passport, or other documentation private to the individual
  • Hardware token (A small personal device creates a One-Time Password (OTP)
  • SMS & voice
  • Software tokens (A piece of software on a device such as a smartphone or a computer that generates a One-Time Password)
  • Push notification

The problem with passwords

Two factor authentication is becoming the new standard as many businesses and customers recognise the vulnerabilities posed by weak passwords.

Passwords can be weak when you, your team, or a customer reuses the same password for many accounts. This often occurs because we have poor memories and lots of different accounts.

Cybercriminals take advantage of this and use approaches, such as credential stuffing, to create brute force attacks that target thousands of accounts. Businesses and websites not using 2fa are becoming targets.

The rise in cybercrime

Cybercrime is on the increase, and over the last 12 months, four in ten businesses reported cybersecurity breaches. COVID-19 and remote working is making it more difficult for companies to administer cybersecurity measures. Fewer businesses are deploying security monitoring tools, and there is a lack of skilled penetration testers on the market.

Why do it? What are the benefits?

By introducing 2 factor authentication, your business will have more robust security, protecting it against data breaches. Productivity, flexibility, and mobility are achievable safely, and your company will be better able to protect its reputation and avoid financial damage. Highlighting vulnerabilities and systems that are not covered by 2fa forms an essential part of penetration testing.

What are the drawbacks?

Two factor authentication can be frustrating when paired with timed logouts. The individual might become frustrated with repeatedly having to log in to tools that are frequently used.

Our tip: use a password manager with 2fa authentication, and enable it whenever prompted.

Each website, tool, or app will have its own guidance for setting up 2fa. If they do not, then look into more secure alternatives. To arrange pen testing or for assistance with 2 factor authentication, please contact our team.

How to set up 2fa

Each website, tool, or app will have its own guidance for setting up 2fa. If they do not, then look into more secure alternatives. To arrange pen testing or for assistance with 2 factor authentication, please contact our team.

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