Home Two-Factor Authentication What Is Two-Factor Authentication?
two factor authentication

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

by Emma Wilson

Cyberattacks can deal massive damage to your business. They affect your business standing and consumer trust. They target various aspects of your system, including logins and other relevant information.

Among the cyberattacks that occur, 45% utilize hacking. About 22% come from phishing, and 17% involve malware use. As the number of methods for cyberattacks increase, the need for effective cybersecurity increases.

Two-factor authentication is a cybersecurity method that can help protect your accounts. Read on to learn how this method works and how you can benefit from it.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

Most user accounts have single-factor authentication for their security. It involves a set of usernames and passwords to gain access. The term “factor” pertains to how a system validates the user’s identity before they can use the account.

Two-factor authentication, also referred to as 2FA, is a process that requires two stages. These stages come up to verify the user’s identity. The factors use something that the user already possesses to access the account.

In most cases, two-factor authentication uses two different platforms. It often uses a separate device, such as a smartphone, for the second factor for confirmation. 

How Does Two-Factor Authentication Work?

Two-factor authentication conducts two different tests to check if you’re the real account owner. The first test is through the username and the password. Once that goes through, the second test comes in to verify the login attempt.

This second challenge requires you to use a device or a different channel to verify the login attempt. It’s often a push notification on your smartphone.

It comes in the form of a one-time password (OTP). You’ll receive this OTP through a different channel, such as a text message, phone call, and so on. You must input these codes within a certain duration or they expire.

Types of Two-Factor Authentication

You have a lot of options when using two-factor authentication online and on other devices. Each of these offers a different approach that may suit your needs. These authentication types can show you how 2FA works well to keep your accounts secured.

App-Generated Authentication Codes

For this method, an app generates codes to access the account. For each login session, the app generates a different authentication code. To accomplish this process, use apps such as Google Authenticator and load them on your phone.

The good thing about the app is that it won’t need any signal to function. The app generates time-limited codes on your device. You get to enter the generated code on the login without any fear of breaches, making it an effective setup.

Physical Authentication Keys

You can go toward a physical approach—in this case, authentication keys that you can plug into the computer. These work well for big companies, especially for enterprises operating in the technology and financial sectors.

Known as U2F, these use tokens to provide the necessary 2FA. The current iteration of this method uses small USB devices. You can insert these into your computer’s USB port.

It gives the impression of using a physical key to access your user accounts.

Other Forms of Two-Factor Authentication

You can see other forms of 2FA available for you to use. Some mobile apps use a different method. 

Some of these use a codeless 2FA. In this setup, the mobile app links to another device to confirm that you initiated the login attempt.

Another setup is to use email-based authentication. This method of two-factor authentication online allows you to use an email address. 

From there, you receive an OTP for the account. However, email-based 2FA isn’t as secure as other methods. If the hackers compromised your email address, they can bypass this authentication method.

A different iteration of two-factor authentication goes up a step. In this particular setup, it uses multiple challenges before the system grants the user access to the account. This approach is Multiple Factor Authentication or MFA.

MFA uses various elements such as biometrics or location to verify the login attempt. It’s one of the most secure methods of authentication around. It’s often implemented to protect sensitive documents and information.

Why Should You Go for Two-Factor Authentication?

With the shift toward hybrid and remote workforces, you need a system to secure a means for workers to log in and conduct their tasks. Bolstering cybersecurity is a must, meaning you also need cybersecurity awareness to go with the use of the 2FA. With this in mind, having 2FA can help with your data security through these benefits.

Stronger Data Security

The primary benefit of 2FA is the palpable increase in security levels. It decreases the risk of hackers gaining access to business-owned devices, accounts, and sensitive information. It’s especially when your business deals with customers’ financial information.

A weak password makes it easy for hackers to break in. This is especially the case for single-factor authentication setups.

With two-factor authentication, they still need to get past the second stage. The best part is that the system alerts you whenever an invalid authentication attempt happens.

Prevents Identity Theft and Fraud

2FA also enables you to prevent identity theft and fraud. These are some of the most notable dangers for remote work arrangements. It gives you a chance to stop hackers from accessing the account.

Encourages Productivity and Flexibility

A secure working condition enables employees to focus on working. It also enables workers to access corporate systems on any device. They do so without putting sensitive information at risk.

Go for Two-Factor Authentication Today

With two-factor authentication, you can boost your data security and prevent cyberattacks. You need to have a strong cybersecurity system to keep your business protected. It ensures that your consumers trust you with their information.

For that, we have the means to help you bolster your cybersecurity and online information. Contact us today and we can help you get started.