What You Need to Know About Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an excellent way to help secure logins and prevent data breach attacks. Learn more about it and why you should use it now.  

We live in a time when it isn’t a question of whether you’ll become a victim of hacking—it’s when. Keeping data out of the wrong hands is paramount and one easy way to do this is to secure your login credentials. How do you do this? With a handy tool called two-factor authentication (2FA). Here’s what you need to know.

Why Do You Need Any Extra Barrier of Data Security Protection?

Before we can discuss 2FA, it is essential to understand why an extra barrier of data security protection is so significant. For individuals, using logins that feature 2FA is just another way of ensuring your personal information doesn’t end up somewhere it shouldn’t be. But businesses need to be extra cautious, too. Utilizing 2FA on login helps keep employee and company information secure and can even help build trust with potential customers.

What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Now that we know the reason behind implementing two-factor authentication let’s discuss what it is. 2FA is a special set of protocols that require a user to take any action to prove they are who they say they are when they attempt to login.

The way this generally works is the user inputs their username and password into the system. They are then prompted to take an additional step before they are granted access. These additional steps can be:

  • Something you know such as a pin or code;
  • Something you have in your possession like a credit card or driver’s license number;
  • Something you can receive a message on such as your smartphone or email;
  • Something you are like a biometric fingerprint or iris scan.

For most logins, the category of something you know is sufficient. But for extremely sensitive data, companies can opt for a category as strict as biometrics.

What Are a Few Options Companies Can Use to Implement 2FA?

There are multiple ways a company can implement two-factor authentication into their login processes.

The first is a hardware token such as a fob or other device. When a user starts to login, they are prompted to scan/swipe the item or input a code from it. This usually isn’t as preferred, as the equipment is expensive, and employees have a tendency to lose the fobs regularly.

Another option involves using a smartphone. SMS and voice-based setups either send a text message or voice calls the person attempting to login. The user must then repeat or input a unique code. In the vast majority of situations where 2FA is needed, this is often the most preferred.

But sometimes that isn’t sufficient. That’s when a special app with a token key is required. How that all works is the user adds a special app to their smartphone. When prompted, the app opens and provides credentials to the login page. This is a bit more in-depth and can protect your information, but it also comes with a higher than normal level of accidental lockouts.

Finally, there’s the popup notification option. You’ve probably used this one a time or two when trying to login to a new Apple device. Primarily, after adding a username and password to a page, a particular popup appears on your device. You must tap that button to gain access to the account you are logging into.

Wrapping Up

The truth is that 2FA works to help keep unwanted hackers and phishers from doing their jobs. Google has even published data showing that 2FA blocks an estimated 100% of bot attacks. When it all comes down to it, that added layer of protection is essential in terms of securing your data.

At 4BIS.com, we take data security protection seriously. That is why we are proud to help companies implement and maintain two-factor authentication and other data security best practices. Please contact us today to learn more.

James Forbis
Written by James Forbis
Posted on: April 8, 2020