Where Does 2FA Stand in Your Security Policies?

    Where Does 2FA Stand in Your Security Policies?

    Since the beginning of Internet connectivity, on-site servers, and the invention of the cloud, passwords have never been as secure as most everyone believes. Many companies incorporate an additional layer of security through two-factor authentication (2FA), in an effort to reduce the risks of using passwords.

    Usually, this additional layer of authentication can significantly lower the risk of any breach of the company’s confidential data, at very little, or no, additional cost. Many companies demand two-factor authentication from their MSP to meet essential requirements for laws around PCI or HIPAA.

    Defining Two-Factor Authentication

    Two-factor authentication is based on the next security level up from one-factor authentication, commonly referred to as a username plus the password. For many years, this single level of authentication was used as the only safeguard in protecting a server or online account. The next higher layer of authentication (two-factor) builds on the user’s name and password by incorporating additional factors of identification.

    Banking institutions often use various methods of two-factor authentication when assisting their customers in withdrawing cash or making a payment with their credit card. The authentication might include a combination of:

    • A scan of a card plus a signature
    • A scan of the card plus a PIN code
    • A scan of the card plus expiration date plus the security code

    Developing a Strong 2FA Security Policy

    With the ongoing vulnerability of critical confidential company data on an on-site server, in the cloud, or connecting to a remote machine management platform, it is critical to develop a strong 2FA security policy. Two-factor authentication is critical for many reasons. Specifically:

    • The Rate of Cyber-crime is Increasing – The biggest online growth industry over the Internet is cyber-crime. Prevention of cyber-attacks is far less expensive than the process of recovery when there has been a breach of company information and critical data.
    • Added Levels of Security – While two-factor authentication is not strong enough to safeguard against every type of hack or cyber-attack, it can quickly and inexpensively add an additional protective layer of safeguard against a high majority of cyber-crime.
    • An Inexpensive Solution – While there are authentication alternatives that are expensive to utilize, there are many strong 2FA solutions that are highly affordable. As a cost-effective solution, two-factor authentication can add additional layers of protection when safeguarding confidential company data.

    Reasons for Embracing Two Factor Authentication

    The specific reasons to incorporate and embrace two-factor authentication in any business is based on various factors that include:

    • Compliance – Many companies need to deploy 2FA because of strict PCI data security requirements, FFIEC guidelines, and to maintain compliance with HIPAA
    • Ease-of-Use – Available on PCs, USBs and mobile devices, 2FA is accessible anywhere.
    • Human Error - The reality is your users make terrible passwords. 2FA helps maintain security by adding additional security factors rather than a standard password. 

    It is essential to build a strong security policy around two-factor authentication to safeguard company and private information from online and on-site hackers. It is much easier to provide a level of safeguard than to attempt to recover stolen information from the other side of the world.

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