In the modern age, security is a huge worry. With the advancement of technology, there are always ways for hackers to access information or resources. Because of this, new methods like 2-step verification, also known as two-factor authentication are created and imposed to add a layer of security to our accounts.
Multi-factor authentication is used to provide an additional layer of security. The platform or system will require a user to go through a specific pattern of authentication process before accessing the information or resources. Most platforms or systems require two authentication factors before allowing a certain user to access the information or resources.
What Is Two Factor Authentication?
Two-factor authentication, or most commonly referred to as 2FA, is a security process that involves using two different authentication factors for users to verify themselves. This is the most common type of authentication as it adds security while also giving flexibility to the users.
While having more than two authentications in place can make an account or system much more secure, it can also be problematic. With too many authentications required, a user can also be locked out from their own accounts. This is why 2FA is the most popular choice with platforms or systems that has multiple users.
Benefits of 2FA To Your Business
The following are 7 reasons why you should implement a 2 Step Verification in your business.
1. Increase Productivity
A data breach has been a huge problem for companies. Before the establishment of 2FA, employees are not allowed to work on their projects outside of work as it might expose sensitive information to people who get access to the documents. However, with 2FA, it has become much easier and safer to work remotely without the fear of making your information vulnerable.
2. Reduce Fraud
Ultimately, as a business, you should always keep your customer’s interests and safety in mind. Fraudulent activities have always been around, and as a business owner, you should always ensure that you are protected against such criminal activities. By adding a layer of security, you ensure that your customers that their information and accounts are protected.
3. Increase Sales
For small businesses, the main problem is to convert an audience to paying customers. Due to security concerns, people are reluctant to put in their credit card information. However, if you have 2FA enabled in your system, your customers will be more willing to provide their information that can lead to an increase in sales.
4. Avoid Negative Reviews
The customer’s experience is an important factor in your business’s success. Providing a great experience can give you more loyal customers, while also improving your business’s reputation.
If even a few of your users have a negative experience with you, and they created an online review criticizing your business’s safety, you might risk losing potential customers. Worst, your customers might even switch over your competitors over these negative reviews.
5. Advantage Over Competitors
Speaking of competitors, it is inevitable that you have competing businesses around you. While creating a good product or providing high-quality services is important, you can have a huge advantage over your competitors if you have security systems in place.
Some users choose a company to support based on the security systems they place. Since people are less likely to provide their information to businesses with poor security, they will look for similar companies that provide the same services or products, but with much better security.
6. Lower Operating Costs
Without 2FA, costs for security management and help desk will increase. While it is important to have a help desk and security management team, it can be costly if you do not have 2FA enabled. This is due to the number of your customers or users who need help due to fraudulent activities in their accounts.
7. Increase Security
The most commonly cited reason for adding 2FA to your business is security. This is perhaps the most important benefit that multi-factor authentication is actually created for.
What Are Authentication Factors?
There are 5 main types of authentication factors. Each authentication factor has its own benefits and risks. When combined together, they create a more secure system against hackers who are trying to access information or resources.
1. Knowledge Factor
The most usual and basic authentication factor is the knowledge factor. This is a piece of information that a user possesses. The most common example of a knowledge factor is a password or PIN.
Benefits of Knowledge Factor
Knowledge factors are much easier to obtain compared to other authentication factors. Since it involves knowledge, your users do not have to obtain a physical object, be in a specific location, or access the account within a specific time frame.
Because of this, the user has more flexibility and can access the account whenever they like, without restrictions aside from knowing the knowledge factor.
Risks of Knowledge Factor
While it is flexible and the most often go-to authentication factor, the knowledge factor also has some risks. Through a common method knowns as “brute force,” a hacker can try to guess the password even without prior coding skills.
This is why a strong password-which is a combination of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols-is often suggested to users.
2. Possession Factor
A possession factor is another common type of authentication. This involves having a physical object that a person can use to authenticate themselves. It can be a key, security token, USB token, ID card, or smartphone.
Benefits of Possession Factor
The possession factor makes it harder for hackers to get into an account. Because they need to have a physical object to verify themselves, they cannot access the information or resources from anywhere in the world.
Risks of Possession Factor
While the possession factor can immensely limit the number of hackers who can attempt to enter your user’s account, it has one major flaw. Your users should always have the possession factor within their person. If they lose it or even left it somewhere, they will not be able to verify themselves.
3. Inherence Factor
Most commonly referred to as a biometric factor, the inherence factor involves using something that is inherent to the physical attributes of a user. This can be in the form of a fingerprint, facial recognition, or voice recognition.
Benefits of Inherence Factor
The inherence factor will limit the number of people who can attempt to access your users’ accounts. It’s one of the most commonly used factors for smartphones nowadays since it offers more flexibility compared to the possession factor, and more security compared to the knowledge factor.
Risks of Inherence Factor
The inherence factor does not fully protect your users from hackers. Their family members can access your user’s accounts if they have similar facial features. Furthermore, it is limited to a device with biometric features.
4. Location Factor
Another authentication factor that improves security is the location factor. This limits the ability to authenticate users to specific devices or particular locations. If there is an attempt to access the account in a place far from the approved location, the attempt will be blocked.
Benefits of Location Factor
This is perhaps the easiest authentication factor as it requires no additional effort from the user. By simply reading the device’s geographic source on the Internet Protocol (IP) address, the system can already determine if the attempt is from a valid user.
Risks of Location Factor
The biggest risk of the location factor is that it might lockout a user if they are accessing the account from a different location. This usually happens when a customer is traveling or has moved locations.
5. Time Factor
The time factor authentication limits the permitted access to a certain time window. Attempting to access the account or information beyond the window will be restricted by the system.
Benefits of Time Factor
If you have systems that should only be accessed at a certain time, this can be an effective method of adding a layer of security. The most common use of time factor authentication is in office spaces where computers should only be accessed during office hours.
Risks of Time Factor
The time factor is an extremely strict authentication factor that is not recommended to be used by customers. While they can be a huge benefit for employees who only need to access accounts or information during their office hours, it can be a huge disadvantage to people who need to have 24/7 access.
Security has never been more important than it is now. By setting up 2FA in your users’ accounts, your users can protect themselves from people who want to access your business information which can lead to dire consequences.
Based on recent data, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses as they are more often vulnerable to hacking. The same data shows that 60% of small businesses that experienced cyber attacks have closed within six months.
By combining different authentication factors, you can create a much safer space that can ultimately help your business grow while removing threats to your security.