Two Factor Authentication: What It Is and Why Do You Need It

Two-factor authentication is the new and improved password. In the old days, passwords were considered to be a secure method of protecting systems.  A password alone has proven to be inadequate protection in today’s complex world of technology.  A couple obvious problems with passwords are:

  1. The same password can be reused for many systems.
  2. Passwords are difficult to memorize.
  3. They can be used to impersonate another user.

Over the years, EMPIST has encountered many users who reuse passwords across their different systems. The main issue this creates is that when one system is hacked or compromised, it is very likely the hackers will use the same information to expose other systems you have access to.  This can quickly and negatively impact your business with IT headaches and general stress. However, a simple two-step solution can help avoid all of it.

Two-Factor Authentication: Simple and Secure

The most common method in today’s world to protect systems in addition to a password is two-factor authentication.  Two-factor authentication, sometimes called 2FA, follows the what you know (your password) and what you have (device or token) methodology.  The device can be a mobile phone, a landline phone, a portable token (USB) or a smart card (chip).

A password can be used virtually from anywhere in the world, so where’s the proof that the password is being entered by you?  This is why two-factor authentication has a physical component to it. Two-factor authentication works only after your password is entered correctly.  In order to login successfully one of the following would need to happen from a mobile phone for example.

  • Accept a push notification on your mobile phone.
  • Use Touch ID technology.
  • Enter the SMS code sent to your mobile phone.

If you successfully provide the second form of authentication you will then granted access to the system.  If you do not, access is denied.  This provides amazing protection for your accounts.

The Benefits of Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication brings many benefits, such as:

Increase Productivity and Flexibility
Mobile has become a necessary part of how many enterprise businesses operate and communicate with customers in order to increase productivity. Mobile 2FA allows businesses to securely access their apps, documents, personal data, and back-office systems from virtually any device or location minus risking the network or sensitive data.

Better Security
By requiring a second form of identification, two-factor authentication decreases the likelihood that a hacker can impersonate someone and gain access to computers, accounts or other sensitive resources. Even if an impersonator has access to your password, the attempt to infiltrate your system will fail during the second ID check. Access to the second form of identification will only be available to you.

Reduce Risk of Identity Theft
Identity theft and fraud cost consumers more than $16 billion in 2016. However, this kind of theft can impact more than just money. It can result in the loss of your customer’s trust and your own brand’s reputation, regardless whether the merchant or another party was at fault. Two-Factor Authentication provides an additional layer of mobile security that keeps the site and customer protected. 

Do you still think your password is good enough to protect your systems?  They are many solutions that can provide two-factor authentication, and EMPIST can tell you more.

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