IT departments across all industries are fighting a constant battle to protect company networks from hackers and fraudsters. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an effective – and increasingly important – weapon in the IT manager’s armory.
2FA delivers an extra layer of protection for user accounts that, while not impregnable, significantly decreases the risk of unauthorized access and system breaches.
In recent times, there has been a renewed focus by IT managers on protecting network vulnerabilities due to a stream of hacking attacks on organizations and governments. However, the use of 2FA is surprisingly low among end users, both in corporate environments and in the wider user community. Google, for instance, recently revealed that less than 10 percent of Gmail users make use of the available 2FA security measures to protect their account.
Want to learn more about how 2FA works with Office 365? Sign up for our 2FA webinar.
However, the clear benefits should encourage a much wider adoption of the technology by organizations and users. IT departments can help make a case for wider use of 2FA using the following points:
Passwords are old-fashioned and should be phased out. As we all know, users fall time and again into the bad habit of choosing weak passwords. Analyses of hacked passwords regularly show that large proportions of people opt for passwords such as ‘123456’ and ‘password’, with requirements for alphanumeric passwords scarcely improving the situation. Used in combination with a password, 2FA greatly enhances security. An even better approach is to get rid of passwords all together.
Choose 2FA that suits
Two-factor authentication systems typically require users to produce two pieces of identifying information from three possible categories: ‘something they know’; ‘something they have’; and ‘something they are’.
This variety of categories allows for a wide range of authentication techniques and technologies to be used, most of which are far superior to a password. These include sending a pin code to a mobile phone or separate device, adding a biometric key such as a fingerprint or retina scan, using a code-generating application on a smart phone or computer, or sending the pin by another secure email account or by voice call. With the Nexus Personal Mobile approach, users are asked to open a mobile app and confirm that a random picture shown there matches one in the target application. As a general rule, you should employ the authentication combination that best suits your company’s cost-structure and users.
Boost productivity with mobility
IT departments are using mobility to increase flexibility and productivity. A survey of 322 professionals in management across various industries by CITO Research found that 67 percent of respondents cited improved business processes as a goal of mobility. Other benefits include competitive advantages and increased user satisfaction. One of the biggest movements in mobility is in Bring Your Own Device workplaces, which also seeks to increase productivity by letting users safely use personal devices. Mobile 2FA enables employees to securely access documents, back-office systems, data, and corporate applications from any location without putting the corporate network and sensitive information in danger.
Reduce helpdesk costs
Password reset is one of the most common reasons behind support calls to help desks. A survey by technical support industry association HDI found that over 30 percent of help desk tickets generated were due to password resets. By replacing passwords with a non-password-dependent 2FA approach you can greatly reduce the pressure on help desk staff and reduce costs for your organization.
Protect against fraud
Identify theft is rising at an alarming rate. The 2018 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the number of identity fraud victims increased by eight per cent from 2017, to 16.7 million US consumers. The combined value of the fraud reached $US16.8 million. Introducing non-password-dependent 2FA greatly enhances security and reduces the risk of identity theft.
Do you want to learn more about two-factor identification? Sign up for our 2FA webinar.