The most dangerous cyber threats businesses face are not necessarily sophisticated exploits used by highly skilled hackers but relatively simple techniques that target the everyday user. One of these techniques is credential theft, whereby hackers steal passwords and use these to access your company’s accounts. A great way to prevent this attack is by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) in your business.

What is 2FA? 

2FA is a security measure that requires users to provide two forms of identification before they can access a system. The most common forms of identification include:

  • Knowledge factors – a login credential that only the user knows, such as a password or PIN
  • Possession factors – a form of verification that a user would have in their possession, such as a security token, SMS verification code, or one-time password generated by an authenticator app 
  • Inherence factors – particular physical characteristics that identify a user, such as a fingerprint scan or facial recognition 
  • Location factors – geographic information that helps verify the user’s identity, such as a GPS signal of a registered work location

Why are passwords not enough?

Passwords have long been the go-to form of authentication for businesses, but hackers can steal them through various methods. They may conduct phishing scams to trick users into revealing their credentials. Moreover, they use malware like keyloggers to capture passwords as these are entered. Many users don’t even choose a secure password in the first place. A cardinal sin that many people commit is using weak and easy-to-guess passwords like “123456” or “password”. Worse yet, these people use the same password for different accounts, so if a hacker manages to get their hands on one set of credentials, they can potentially access many accounts. 

2FA prevents any of these from happening by adding an extra layer of security, making it twice as difficult for a hacker to gain access. Even if a hacker manages to steal a user’s password, they will still need to provide a second form of authentication to gain access. If they don’t have access to company phones or acquire biometric data, which is unlikely, they won’t be able to breach the system.  

What are the other benefits of 2FA?

Aside from fortifying your accounts, there are also several other advantages to enabling two-factor authentication. For one, 2FA increases accountability by allowing you to track who is accessing what systems and when easily.

In addition, 2FA is an inexpensive security measure to ensure compliance with data privacy regulations and avoid hefty fines. Having 2FA-secured systems demonstrates that your business is taking the necessary steps to protect user data and information. 

Finally, 2FA encourages good security habits. By prompting users/employees to use two authentication factors each time they access a system, they will become more vigilant about their passwords and be less likely to fall victim to phishing scams. 

How do you set up 2FA?

Setting up two-factor authentication is not tricky. Cloud services like Google Workplace, Microsoft 365, DropBox, and Slack come with built-in two-factor authentication solutions. You simply need to enable 2FA in the settings menu of your account and then add users that need to access the system. 

If you want to secure your company’s internal systems, you can easily integrate two-factor authentication solutions like Duo Security and Google Authenticator with your existing authentication infrastructure. The former, in particular, also comes with additional security features like adaptive access policies and single sign-on, which is especially useful for managing multiple applications. 

If you need help setting up 2FA, you can also reach out to Empower IT’s security consultants. We can provide you with a range of security solutions to protect your networks from threats. From 2FA and anti-malware protection to security training and network fortification, we’re the right choice for your security needs. Contact us now.

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