As much as digitalization has revolutionized our lives, it has also opened businesses to cyberattacks. Companies often face numerous cyber threats that can lead to significant financial and data losses. Shockingly, Embroker reports that 66% of businesses have experienced cyberattacks in the past year.
This is where Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) comes in handy to safeguard your business strategies and vital data.
Due to the technicalities involved, most businesses need assistance to implement 2FA correctly. Fortunately, this article is a comprehensive guide that explains what 2FA is, how it works, and how to implement it seamlessly. So, let’s dive in!
What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?
In simple terms, 2FA is a security measure that requires users to provide two forms of identification before accessing their accounts or devices. This extra layer of security ensures that your accounts are safe from unauthorized access and protects you against identity theft. For instance, when making a transaction on your bank’s app, you will be required to enter your pin and then input the One-Time Password (OTP) sent to your phone or email. To activate 2FA, the user needs to:
- Provide a unique identifier like an email address, phone number, password, or pin.
- Input a one-time token sent to your email or phone. Alternatively, you can use biometric data like fingerprints to verify the second factor.
Methods to Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Now that you understand what 2FA is, let’s explore some of the commonly used methods to quickly implement 2FA:
This method involves sending a code via text message to the user’s mobile phone. Typically, the code is five to ten digits long, and the user enters it on the website or app to gain access. While SMS verification is user-friendly and easy to set up, it’s not the most secure method. Third parties can easily intercept or redirect SMS tokens or OTPs.
This method uses the user as the token and grants access by verifying biometric data like fingerprints or retinas. Other features like voice and facial recognition also fall under biometric verification. This method is user-friendly and does not require any technical expertise. However, you need special devices or hardware like scanners and cameras to verify biometric data.
Hardware tokens are small devices like USB dongles or key fobs that generate a one-time code when the user presses a button. The user then enters this code along with their password to gain access to a particular account or app. This code lasts for a short time, usually about 30 seconds. Hardware tokens are the most secure 2FA method since they are not connected to the internet and cannot be remotely hacked. However, they can be costly and require additional setup.
Software or App Tokens
Authenticator apps generate time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs) that the user enters with their password. The TOTP is generated on the user’s phone, so the user needs to have their phone with them to gain access. Authenticator apps are more secure than SMS verification because the TOTP is generated locally on the user’s device and is not transmitted over the internet. Additionally, they come with simple interfaces, and the token is displayed immediately.
Implementing Two-Factor Authentication
2FA is a crucial security measure for any business that wants to protect its data and systems from cyberattacks. While there are different methods of implementing 2FA, each with its pros and cons, it is essential to choose the one that suits your needs and offers the best security.
If you’re unsure about which method to use or need help implementing 2FA, you can rely on professional IT services like DataPerk’s to guide you through the process. Don’t wait until it’s too late; start securing your business today with two-factor authentication.