Eventually, we will likely enter an age where it will be commonplace for us to use face-scanning and fingerprint technologies to access data. But for now, we typically use passwords to access our various accounts, which is why two-factor authentication (2FA) has emerged as a vital cybersecurity strategy.
First, let’s be very clear about what we’re talking about here. Two-factor authentication is a way for users to verify their identity by utilizing a combination of two of any of the following three factors: 1) something they know, 2) something they have, or 3) something they are. As such, companies employ 2FA as a second line of defense against potential breaches of their sensitive data.
Why do we need 2FA?
Massive data hacks have increased in incidence (and scale) over the past several years; as such, it has become abundantly clear that using a single password to protect our data has become woefully inadequate, if not completely obsolete. Hackers ply their trade by either guessing your password or accessing a database that contains your log in information in plain text, making your account information ripe for the picking. Two-factor authentication largely resolves these vulnerabilities by requiring you to input a secondary code that is usually six characters in length (i.e., the “something you have”) before you can access your data/account. This means that if your company has integrated 2FA technology, even hackers who possess your password will be blocked from accessing your data if they can’t crack the secondary code.
Please note, however, that 2FA isn’t completely failsafe. For example, hackers can theoretically intercept 2FA codes transmitted via SMS. For this reason, it’s preferable that you implement a hardware- or software-based security solution on every device that you own.
What does 2FA tech look like?
Cybersecurity companies regularly provide secondary login codes via the use of security “tokens” or smartphone apps.
Profiles of reputable 2FA providers
Several 2FA solutions provide flexible authentication methods and support mobile tokens. Here are just a few…
Both large and medium-sized businesses can implement SecureAuth IdP as a cloud-based solution to significantly augment their network security, particularly if they use a range of SaaS services. SecureAuth IdP offers its clients several 2FA options, including smart cards, biometrics, and USB keys. Its customers can also generate one-time passwords via SMS, phone call, or email. Moreover, while traditional login procedures merely required submitting a user name and a password at the onset, SecureAuth IdP allows administrators to customize the order in which the system requests sensitive data from the user. All of the foregoing features offer companies enhanced flexibility in setting their own authentication parameters.
SecurAccess (developed by SecurEnvoy) is a tokenless, remote-access 2FA system. Its technology is especially useful for companies that manage remote teams. Because SecurAccess can service up to 100,000 users per hour, any enterprise can utilize this system, regardless of its size. Their tech allows a company to expand its list of users beyond its own employees to include customers and other third parties. SecurAccess can also send passcodes to any cellular phone without SMS delivery delays.
RSA is one of the most recognized 2FA providers. Businesses in a range of industries—from law firms to banks and online poker rooms—have incorporated the use of random number generators into their security strategies. Commonly known as “SecurID”, RSA’s Authentication Manager is a 2FA tool that companies use to securely access applications, regardless of whether they’re installed on-site or located in the cloud. RSA also offers an assortment of software and hardware that can be installed as supplemental authentication options. SecurID supports all basic mobile operating platforms (e.g., Windows Phone, Blackberry, Android, and iOS) and can deliver passcodes via push notifications, email, and SMS.
There are several 2FA solutions to choose from, and selecting the right one for your business can be a challenging (and tricky) endeavor. However, here are a few general guidelines for making your decision…
If your business often provides third-parties with limited access to its network, then SecurAccess could be the most appropriate choice. If your company primarily requires on-premise solutions, then you might elect to go with SecurID. If your company utilizes a variety of SaaS-based applications, then SecureAuth IdP could be the best fit. If your business is focused on advanced reporting capabilities and fraud detection, then you might lean towards Symantec VIP. In any case, always do your research, compare price points, and evaluate consumer reviews of each security solution before taking the final plunge.