two factor authentication

Two Factor Authentication is a must in today’s business world and even at the consumer level. One of the biggest reasons: passwords are no longer good enough to protect critical information from cybercriminals.

Think I’m wrong? I bet I can guess your password (and I say password because people tend to use the same password everywhere with slight alterations). For example, many passwords are a meaningful date, street address, or even your name with something like an exclamation mark or number at the end.

Cybercriminals love laziness. They love single-factor authentication even more. And before you know it, your identity or confidential business files have been stolen. Using two factor authentication helps to protect your company’s assets. Let’s explore why and talk about common misconceptions.

Why Use Two Factor Authentication?

Data breaches cost U.S. companies, on average, $9M a year in financial losses. 90% of the time, it can be traced back to human error. Remember when I mentioned that cybercriminals love laziness? They know if they’re patient, someone at your business will slip up. Employees open one out of every four phishing emails. 

Implementing two factor authentication is a simple solution to address these common threats:

Stolen Passwords: 
passwords are easy for cybercriminals to get hold of. Using 2FA validates the user with a second device for better protection.

Social Engineering: 
is when a hacker manipulates a user to give up their password by posing as an IT professional. 2FA validates the location and IP of each login. 

Key Logging: 
hackers can use malware to track keystrokes. Using 2FA ensures the login attempt is coming from the end user.

Phishing Attempts: 
are one of the most common cyberattacks. Adding 2FA provides an additional layer of protection. 

Brute Force Attacks: 
these are when a hacker randomly generates passwords until they land on the right one. Again, adding a layer of security can be done with 2FA.

Two factor authentication is becoming more popular; however, many people and businesses still rely on single-factor authentication, aka a weak password. Old habits are hard to break, and for many, it’s easier to manage a single password. But there are just too many vulnerabilities with SFA.

Common Misconceptions About 2FA

Even though two factor authentication is a better option than single-factor authentication, it isn’t a perfect system. Some companies set it and forget it thinking they’ve solved all their cybersecurity issues. This isn’t the case.

Here are four myths about 2FA and some tips to help you secure your system:

Myth 1: 2FA is not susceptible to common cyber threats.
Tip: 2FA can be vulnerable to attacks from hackers, most likely since the end user isn’t receiving push notifications related to codes sent through SMS.

Myth 2: Implementing 2FA is a quick fix for a security breach.
Tip: After a security breach, you can’t just turn on 2FA and hope it fixes the issue. Prevent data breaches by using optional login methods.

Myth 3: Every 2FA solution is the same.
Authentication can occur in various ways, including SMS, a verification link, or other means.

Myth 4: Many companies don’t care about how secure 2FA is and only see it as a legal requirement.
Tip: Using 2FA makes the login process longer than usual, but it’s worth the investment. Not to mention, more consumers are using 2FA and becoming familiar with the process.

What is An Example of Two Factor Authentication? 

When thinking about 2FA and examples of how it works, remember this phrase: something you know, something you have, and something you are. This phrase is an easy way to remember the various factors of authentication. 

The technical names for the various factors of authentication are:

Knowledge-based factors: think passwords and PINS 

Possession-based factors: this could be a token or even a mobile device 

Inherence-based factors: a fingerprint or face recognition 

Time-based factors: unique numeric passwords that use the current time as an input.

Most 2FA systems will use a combination of the first three factors, with a user’s password often being the first factor. But some systems may include MFA technology or multifactor authentication.

Two Factor Authentication in the Workplace

Many companies have been working with two factor authentication for some time now. Some of the biggest names include Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. Even entire industries, like the Healthcare sector, are implementing 2FA. Think about the last time you looked at your phone or booked an appointment with your doctor. You most likely used an inherence-based factor (biometric) to unlock your phone or app.

So why wouldn’t you use a similar system for your business and employees? If traditional passwords are unsafe and the easiest way to hack into your company files, you should implement 2FA as a secondary layer of protection.

At ONE 2 ONE, we use Microsoft Authenticator and a password management tool. These tools are easy to set up and are an excellent resource for your employees. If you think about cyberattacks as an analogy for war, your employees are your first line of defense, and their weapon is 2FA. Here are some things to consider as you set up 2FA for your business.

2FA Implementation and Considerations

When looking to implement 2FA for your company, identify the accounts that need it, choose the best method, then continue to train your employees on how to use the system and why it’s essential. Remember that any defense system against cyberattacks is only as strong as the end user’s level of knowledge and comfortability.

For most companies, every employee will need 2FA. Today’s business world is connected. To keep your employees and customers safe and to protect essential data, 2FA should be set up.

There are many options when deciding which two factor authentication methods you’d like to implement. You can select SMS, authentication apps, and even hardware 2-factor tokens. When you pick the best strategy for your business, continue to educate your employees. Then, they understand just how serious this level of security is for them, their customers, and the company.

Are you looking for Help with 2FA?

If your company is looking into implementing 2FA and you have questions or concerns, contact us today. Or consider joining the newsletter to receive IT-related blog posts like this one.

At ONE 2 ONE, our mission is to empower others so they can make the best possible decisions. Protecting your business is mission-critical, and we’re happy to have these conversations with you.

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