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Two Factor Authentication and Your Security

A simple way your business can secure your important business data

It is estimated that nearly half of all cyber attacks target small and medium businesses. Businesses like yours can no longer “fly under the radar” of cybercriminals because they have valuable data, financial information such as bank accounts and credit card numbers, and they provide hackers with access to larger enterprises. In the normal course of business, the average worker may require half a dozen or more passwords to gain access to Windows, Wi-Fi, email, enterprise software, and other applications. Most people use multiple passwords and change them often, but some reuse passwords or stay logged in to accounts to simplify their lives.

But what this also simplifies is a hacker’s ability to gain access to your systems. Passwords are the keys to your business, and as hacking technology gets more advanced, your business security gets weaker the more you rely on single passwords. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution.

What Two-factor Authentication Is

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is when your system requires two or more methods to verify a user’s identity when they are trying to access an application. Hacking a password is easy with the right software, and this extra layer of required information is usually something that’s extremely difficult for cybercriminals to acquire. This comes in several different forms:

  • SMS Verification – This is a method that sends a one-time-use code to a cellphone. This is a convenient 2FA procedure but since cellphones can be hacked, it’s not as effective as it once was.
  • App-generated codes – Your phone can also contain an app that will notify you when there is an attempt to sign in to your account, and you can easily approve or deny the request. The drawback is employees need to use their personal devices to access their work accounts.
  • Hardware tokens – Using a key fob or other device, this method dynamically generates a code for the user. An issue with key fobs is they can be lost or damaged and need to be deactivated and replaced.

Why It’s Important

By requiring a second or third form of identification, 2FA greatly decreases the probability that an attacker can gain access to your sensitive company data. Even if a hacker gets a password and a username, it’s very difficult for them to get the subsequent elements they need to gain access.

Some businesses may be slow to embrace 2FA because they believe it hinders productivity. But in the grand scheme of things, the opposite is true. Employees need corporate applications, documents, and back-office systems, and 2FA systems are designed to allow them to have quick and safe access. 2FA also reduces the workload for IT departments as they field fewer tedious password reset requests.

Security should be a priority to your business, and 2FA measures reduce fraud and build more secure relationships with customers and vendors. Identity theft is expensive and disruptive, and insecure businesses are a prime target for hackers looking for personal information. 2FA provides an additional layer of security for the business, the customer, and all transactions between them.

How SBT Does It

We recommend any business that deploys Office 365, or has any critical business application with outside access, use 2FA to secure their systems. Through Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, and DUO, we can implement 2FA processes for any business function you need.

Call us today for a free consultation and we can assess your current security environment, identify your major vulnerabilities, and come up with a 2FA plan that suits you and secures your networks.

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