How do your employees gain access to your network? If you only require a simple login, you’re practically inviting cybercriminals to steal your data. All it takes is one password leak for a malicious actor to guess an employee’s username and password, access your personal information, and cause chaos. To keep your network safe, you need two-factor authentication. Here’s why.
How Does Two-Factor Authentication Work?
When your employees enter a username and password to enter your network, email account, and other systems, you have no way of confirming it’s actually them. A cybercriminal could guess login credentials or use data found in an online data breach to pose as your employee. You wouldn’t know the difference until it was too late.
Two-factor authentication eliminates security issues by requiring two forms of authentication for every user. Your employee enters their username and password before answering a security question, entering a code, or pushing a button on their mobile device. Adding this extra layer of security ensures that only your employees can access your private information.
Types of Two-Factor Authentication
There are several ways to verify users’ identities after they enter their login credentials. These are the most common two-factor authentication methods:
- Phone calls or SMS messages: With these authentication systems, your employees must enter their phone number, receive a verification code via text message or phone call, and enter that code before logging in.
- Authenticator applications: Authenticator apps produce unique codes every 30 seconds. To use them, employees scan a QR code to connect the app to an account and enter a new code each time they log in.
- Backup codes: Authenticator apps often provide a set of backup codes users can enter if they lose access to their phone. These codes ensure users can still access their accounts without their two-factor authentication app. Your employees can store these codes in an encrypted password manager system.
- Push-based authentication: Push-based systems are perfect if users don’t want to enter a code or use their phone number during two-factor authentication. After employees enter their credentials, these systems notify their mobile devices and require them to approve the login attempt.
- Security keys: The newest two-factor authentication method aims to close the security loopholes in SMS or application-based systems. Users connect a physical security key, such as a USB drive, with their accounts. Then, they plug that key into their computer’s USB port to authenticate their identity.
Each two-factor authentication method has its pros and cons, but any security measure is better than nothing.
How Secure Is Two-Factor Authentication?
If you’re trying to keep your private data as safe as possible, you may be wondering: How secure is two-factor authentication? The answer depends on the method you choose.
Security keys are one of the most secure authentication methods because hackers can’t intercept any information over the internet. Someone would have to steal your employee’s security key and know their login credentials to gain access to your network, which is unlikely.
Authenticator apps and push notifications are also very secure. Your employees can use authenticator apps without an internet connection, making it difficult for hackers to steal their codes. However, if users accidentally click on a phishing website posing as a legitimate login screen, hackers could steal their credentials and access their real accounts. Push-based authentication eliminates this security concern by requiring users to confirm their approximate location when logging in.
The least secure authentication method is SMS or phone calls. Cybercriminals can spoof your phone number or gain access to your messaging system to steal your code. Additionally, users can unknowingly download malware to their mobile devices, allowing hackers to intercept phone calls or text messages without their knowledge.
If you want to avoid two-factor authentication security issues, don’t use SMS- or call-based systems.
Want to know why cybersecurity is more critical now than ever before? Read about the security lessons we learned in 2021.
How To Set Up 2-Factor Authentication
Setting up 2-factor authentication is relatively simple. With a text, app, or push-based system, all you have to do is sign up as a user and connect your authentication platform to various accounts. If you opt for a security key, you go through a setup process, register the key with different accounts, and plug it in during each login attempt.
Do you need help implementing a two-factor authentication system for your business? Turn to Virtual-Q. We help clients improve their cybersecurity by developing tailor-made IT solutions that fit their needs and budget. Our team members can help you identify which two-factor authentication method works best. Additionally, our Q Desktops integrate seamlessly with all types of security systems, allowing you to add an extra layer of security to every aspect of your network.
Contact us to learn more about two-factor authentication and discover which system is right for you.
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