What is 2 Factor Authentication, and Why Does Your Business Need It?

It has never been more important to protect your company's online identity. Here's how 2 factor authentication can help...

Rob Stevens

29/03/2019

Today, people are spending more time online than ever before.

Both inside and outside of the office, we’re always connected via laptops, smartphones and even intelligent television screens. Your online identity has become a significant part of your life. The question is, are you protecting it?

People are creating new passwords and usernames every day for everything from business software to collaboration tools. Unfortunately, the more accounts that your employees create, the more lax their security strategies are likely to become. 73% of accounts use duplicate passwords. Combine easy-to-guess and repetitive passwords with the growing threat of identity fraud in the UK, and you’ve got a serious problem.

Fortunately, there is a way to keep your business and the people who interact with it safe: 2 factor authentication. Here, we’ll introduce you to the advantages of multi-factor security.

What is Multi Factor Authentication?

Multi factor authentication, also known as “2FA” or “MFA” is the process of identifying users by validating multiple claims presented by that person. In other words, it makes accounts more secure by going beyond the standard user and password key for accessing a statement, to include an extra factor, like a specific mobile device, a pin number, or even a fingerprint.

The idea behind 2 factor authentication is that there’s no perfect “single” way to secure an account. Any single method has its strengths and weaknesses. However, if you combine two strategies into one, you get a far greater level of protection.

It’s all about unlocking the ideal level of security.

2 Factor Authentication Benefits: Why Use 2FA?

2 factor authentications is primarily a method of strengthening business security, by ensuring that you have more than one layer of protection for your accounts. With 2FA, if a user password or pin is subject to a brute-force attack, the hacker still won’t be able to access the second form of identification, such as a fingerprint or mobile phone. Other benefits of multi factor authentication include:

1.      Greater Compliance

As concerns around security and privacy continue to grow, many compliance standards for different industries now require organisations to implement multi factor authentication. Even if you’re not required by law to embrace 2FA, you might find that doing so helps you to differentiate your brand and put your customer’s mind at ease.

For instance, the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) rules don’t specifically ask companies to get 2 factor authentication, but they do request that every healthcare company has a strong authentication process.

2.      Stronger Flexibility

2FA doesn’t just give companies access to a better standard of security; it also ensures that your business can maintain that protection wherever your employees go. As trends like remote and mobile working become more popular, multi factor authentication ensures that your employees will be able to continue logging into the tools that they need from any device with an internet connection.

Thanks to 2 factor authentication benefits, you can give your staff a greater degree of freedom without compromising on the protection systems you have in place.

3.      Easy Adoption

According to research from Symantec, up to 80% of security breaches could be stopped with 2-factor authentication. So, what’s holding companies back? One concern is that MFA will make it too complicated for employees to log into their accounts. However, the truth is that two factor authentication can make life easier for your employees.

Not only will they have to stop worrying about remembering complex passwords for countless accounts, but you can also use single sign-on, to ensure that team members can log into all the tools that they need at once.

4.      Fewer IT Issues

Often, poor security practices in a business mean that IT teams are always dealing with tasks like changing passwords or re-authenticating users within the office. This means that they have less time to concentrate on coming up with innovative new strategies for growth.

Once your team gets used to using things like 2 factor authentication and single-sign on, you should notice the demands on your IT team decreasing.

5.      Demand is Growing

Finally, the efficacy of 2 factor authentication as a security strategy has meant that demand for the solution is continuously increasing. By 2022, the market for MFA is expected to grow by around 15.52%, as more companies realise that they can’t afford to gamble with their protection measures.

2FA gives organisations of all shapes and sizes the extra layer of defence that they need against increasingly unpredictable security attacks. To learn more about what you can do to make your business (and customers) safer, contact Nice Network today. We offer a range of security solutions to suit you.