Managed Two-Factor (2FA) Authentication is a security measure that requires an individual to verify their identity by providing a identifying piece of information along with their username and password in order to access a network.
Your personal accounts, whether email, financial or other, may already be using two-factor authentication. Having a second factor creates another barrier for would-be attackers to cross before gaining unauthorized access to a network. Any form of single-factor authentication, no matter how strong it may appear to be, is naturally risky. Both users and managers can feel more confident in their network security by ensuring a second layer of identity authentication is in place with 2FA.
Moving Past Simple Passwords
Unfortunately, passwords aren’t enough to prevent security breaches. More than 60% of data breaches occur due to compromised passwords—and 93% of those passwords can be cracked in mere minutes.
Today’s hackers are more sophisticated than ever, and users aren’t always taking the necessary steps to secure their information. Many users create common passwords or use personal information to create their passwords. As recent as 2014, “123456” was still one of the most common passwords. These are a breeze for hackers to figure out, and before you know it, they’ve gained access to your system.
Poor password practices can increase the likelihood of a security breach. Far too often, people use the same password for multiple usernames and accounts—in fact, 65% of users use the same password everywhere. Others only change a letter or a number. Once just one password is cracked, hackers will have a good chance of accessing your entire network.
What does all this mean for your organization? It’s time to step up your game with 2FA.
Bringing Two-Factor Authentication to Your Network
Two-factor authentication comes in many forms. The factor that works best for your network depends on your number of users, their ability to create accounts and the level of security you want to provide your network. Common types of 2FA include:
Information: After creating a username and password, users may be asked to answer to answer a unique question such as, “What is your mother’s maiden name?”, “What street did you grow up on?” or “In what month did your parents marry?” This answer is unique to each user, and is typically known only by the user.
Physical Object: In some 2FA systems, tokens or other physical objects may be required to scan into a network. These can be created, activated or deactivated from a smartphone app or central network that controls all the tokens in your network.
Biometric Information: Networks can also use retina scans or fingerprints as an additional layer of authentication.
One-Time Authentication: A one-time two-factor authentication may be sent to users in the form of a text message or phone call. The text message contains a randomly generated code or password that is required to gain access or create an account.
Feel Confident with 2FA
Because users often fail to create (and consistently change) a unique password that will keep a network’s information secure, 2FA is a vital security measure to bridge the gap. More than 85% of users who use 2FA feel that their accounts are more secure than when they were only using a single username and password to gain access. Figuring out a password is an easy task. But figuring out a password and replicating a retina scan (or producing another piece of information) is a much more complicated endeavor. The threat of a security breach is also more likely to be detected during this time.
No form of security guarantees that a network will be safe from cyberattacks, and IT should constantly work to detect and destroy possible threats. However, 2FA allows users and managers to feel safer about using or sharing information within their network—and can minimize security risks more than a single password.