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5 Two-Factor Authentication Best Practices for Businesses That Support Remote Workers

5 Two-Factor Authentication Best Practices for Businesses That Support Remote Workers

While remote work has been on a steep incline for some time now, statistics show that the remote workforce has expanded dramatically over the last three years. And this trend of working from home was only exacerbated by a global pandemic that sent many businesses into a frenzy as they sought to reduce operational disruptions and remain profitable in a time of immense economic certainty.

The recent influx in telecommuting has introduced several new obstacles to securing business networks. Any organization that supports a remote workforce is subject to a new set of security risks that were simply not present when all their employees reported to a physical site and logged into their secure, on-premises networks to complete their daily tasks.

The swift and wholly unanticipated shift to remote work in 2020 introduced the use of personal devices to access critical business applications. Along these same lines, more workers were transferring sensitive information over public networks. While remote officing undeniably comes with its perks for both the employee and employer, it also carries several new cybersecurity risks, namely those concerning offsite user authentication.

As company leaders sought to adjust to the pandemic and modified how they conduct their operations by incorporating more telecommuting positions into their business model, they also needed expedient solutions for securing complex digital environments against the various cyber threats targeting remote office workers.

Many leading organizations have since turned to two-factor authentication (2-FA) as means of bolstering their protection against the risks associated with maintaining a productive remote office staff. 2-FA reduces the chances of a password breach by introducing additional authentication factors that only authorized users can supply.

Since two-factor authentication is one of the most effective approaches for preventing unauthorized access to sensitive corporate data, particularly when it comes to remotely-sited employees, the team at PCH Technologies has put together this list of 5 best practices for 2-FA implementation.

1. Deploy 2-FA organization-wide

While it’s possible to introduce 2-FA security practices in stages, the approach is ill-advised. Countless business owners have been led into this notion that only some users should require multi-factor authentication while others don’t. This strategy is akin to only partially changing the locks of your business after discovering a known threat has access to your keys.

The best way to safeguard your organization from an unauthorized breach is secure every potentially vulnerable access point. More and more companies are moving their data and workflows to the cloud while failing to implement the appropriate security protocols. To avoid being one of them, 2-FA security should be deployed for business partners with remote access across your servers.

The latest research shows that requiring 2-FA before any user can remotely execute privilege drastically reduces your odds of becoming a victim of a password-based hack. Access to your networks and confidential business always requires user-specific knowledge, making 2-FA one of the best tools for preventing unauthorized systems, data breaches, and other password-based criminal hacks. 

2. Take advantage of adaptive 2-FA

It’s recommended that businesses never silo their approach to cybersecurity, and this is especially true of any project involving 2-FA implementation. With that mentioned, you can still leverage adaptive 2-FA functions to improve both efficiency and user experience.

Adaptive two-factor authentication means you don’t have to keep your multi-factor security controls on at all times. Asking users for secondary credentials at every login attempt can cut into productivity and take away from a positive user experience.

For this reason, many businesses prefer a step-up approach to their security that requires 2-FA under specific conditions. Multi-factor authentication can evaluate contextual information like user, network, time of day, and device settings that establish when you should activate 2-FA. 

3. Use more than one authentication factor

Every business wants a secure and effective authentication process. At the same time, your organization has to walk a fine line between security and ease of use.

While there’s no one way to approach 2-FA implantation, businesses can choose from an array of authentication factors and methods that allow them to keep costs at a minimum while providing maximal security for various unique applications.

2-FA lets you leverage biometric identifiers, including retina scans, fingerprints, and facial recognition for optimal security. Other popular authentication methods include email, SMS/Text messages, and hardware tokens to help you stay two steps ahead of criminal threat actors.

4. Align your two-factor authentication with existing standards

If you’re unclear on how to establish 2-FA protocols with your existing IT infrastructure, consider using existing standards like remote authentication dial-in user service (RADIUS), and open authentication (OATH).

RADIUS, for example, is a networking standard that ensures centralized authentication for any users connecting to your network services. OATH serves a similar function, only it’s an open technology protocol that provides a robust authentication solution for all users connecting to your networks across all endpoints. 

5. Implement supplementary authentication tools and services

Combining 2-FA with complementary identity security tools such as single sign-on (SSO) and least privilege can reduce dependence on multiple passwords. SSO lets you authenticate users of every application and cloud service to which they’ve been previously authorized to use.

Least privilege access allows you to regulate and tenor user authorization, giving users with lower privilege levels access to the apps they need to conduct their duties. These privileges can be stepped up on an as-needed basis. Least privilege access is an effective tool for protecting your business from insider threats, and it reduces the risks associated with password and account sharing, a practice that often compromises user credentials. 

Looking to implement an effective 2-FA solution?

The threat landscape is constantly evolving, and the best way to mitigate the impacts of cyberattacks and breaches is to stop the incursion before it starts. While 2-FA is a fantastic tool for achieving those ends, the importance of evaluating the solution regularly can’t be overstated.

If you are planning on deploying 2-FA for the first time or need a fresh set of eyes to assess the efficacy of your existing solution, connect with an expert cybersecurity specialist at PCH Technologies today by calling (856) 754-7500 or book your complimentary discovery call online now.