• Oliver

The case for Two Factor Authentication

History has shown us that when it comes to protecting sensitive data, no organization is totally immune. Even some of the largest companies in the world, Yahoo, Adobe, LinkedIn, have all been breached.

So if you rely on any web-service for your business, Dropbox, Facebook, LinkedIn, Outlook, Gmail, you can never assume your data is 100% secure.

One of the most common entry-points for hackers is passwords, with powerful brute-force software capable of cracking passwords through trial and error. With two factor authentication, even if your password is compromised, you still have a backup.

Two factor authentication is one of the simplest and most secure methods of security that any business can quickly implement and use. It's certainly not the answer to all your security problems, and not 100% impenetrable, but you'll be more secure then you would have been without it.

Google, one of the chief adopters of 2FA released impressive statistics in May 2019 proving just how effective two factor authentication is. During the period in question:

  • 100% of automated attacks were blocked

  • 99% of bulk phishing attacks were blocked

  • 66% of targeted attacks were prevented

As IT consultants, we regularly perform security audits for businesses who aren't utilizing two factor authorization. It takes no more than a couple of minutes to set up, so what's going wrong?

  • Some people aren't sure what it's for

  • Some aren't sure how to set it up

  • Some are concerned about giving their phone number

2FA is a minor inconvenience that could save you from the potential damage caused by a cyber hack. Its important to remember that two factor authentication is about authenticating yourself in two ways. It doesn't mean having your phone nearby to receive a code every time you want to sign in to a service. That's an example of two factor authentication, but it's not the only one. Other examples include: fingerprints, facial recognition, another email or hardware key such as YubiKey.

Two factor authentication can be used to add a layer of protection to your organizations computers, wireless devices, emails, websites, hosting accounts, networks and a whole host more. Its unrealistic and unpractical to be able to add two factor authentication to absolutely everything. So it's about using a common-sense approach to determining what need protecting most, and what the ramifications would be if a technology you rely on was compromised.

How to get started with two factor authentication

The first thing to do is determine what you want to protect. You'll then need to head over to that particular service to enable two two factor protection. You may then be given a choice to receive authentication codes by SMS or using an authentication app such as Google Authenticator, (no internet required), Microsoft Authenticator or Duo.

If you want to protect your email for instance, most major services offer 2FA and have guides on how to set it up: Outlook, Gmail.

You can also protect your social accounts such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.

Cloud computing services that provide 2FA include: AWS, Digital Ocean and Google Cloud Platform.

Backup services that provide 2FA include: Dropbox, iTunes, Box.

Remote support services that provide 2FA include: LogMeIn and Join.me.

This is not a complete list. Multiple ways to authenticate yourself are being added to all sorts of digital products and services all the time. For more eligible services visit https://twofactorauth.org. Or speak to RTS for help, consulting and 2 factor set up for your wider IT infrastructure.

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