Why you need to learn two-factor authentication

How much protection do you think passwords provide today to your company’s Web sites, mobile devices and desktop computers? The right answer? Probably not much. Cyber criminals have mastered the art of cracking passwords. And too often, employees make use of passwords that are easy to guess. This leaves your company vulnerable to cyber attacks. Fortunately, there’s a solution: two-factor authentication. And, according to a recent story by Biztech Magazine, it’s the simplest way to immediately boost your company’s ability to shield itself from cyber crimes.

Why a second step matters

Two-factor authentication works so well mainly because it requires users to take two separate actions to log onto a machine or Web site, according to the Biztech story. That’s enough to chase away the vast majority of cyber criminals who will go on to target businesses with weaker protection. With a typical two-step authentication setup, end users must use both a password and something else to log onto their machines or Web sites. An end user might have to swipe a smart card or insert a token. A company might even rely on biometric identifiers as the all-important second step.

Rolling it out

Not all of your employees, though, are going to be happy with two-factor authentication. It takes more effort on their part, of course. But Biztech does provide a few recommendations for smoothing this rollout. First, the magazine suggests that you choose a second factor that will result in the least disruption among employees. As an example, Biztech uses the example of smart cards. Mobile devices such as smartphones are typically not compatible with these cards. That could be deal breaker for some organizations. Companies that have personnel that work from a wide variety of locations might not do well with physical tokens.

Take it slowly

If you want your employees to be more comfortable with two-factor authentication, you’ll want to roll out your program gradually. This will give your workers a chance to adjust to the fact that their log-on procedures are going to be going through a fairly momentous change. Additionally, it gives you the chance to educate your staff about how two-factor authentication works and why it’s so important to the company’s security.

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