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What You Need To Know About Dual-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication

What You Need To Know About Dual-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication

To keep your business growing, you seize every competitive edge that you can find. For many businesses, remaining competitive means offering more online services and performing more digital marketing. The problem with linking your company’s network to the Internet, though, is that doing so makes intrusion a possibility.

I Already Protect My Network With Passwords!

Employing passwords for user authentication provides some security for your company’s network, but passwords alone aren’t as secure as you might think. People often choose simple passwords that are easy to guess, and they may use the same passwords everywhere.

Suppose a hacker specifically targets your company for intrusion. The hacker might target an older individual who isn’t technically savvy; someone of advanced age is likely to use the same password everywhere. The hacker could pose as a friend or family member of that person on Facebook. If the hacker successfully obtains that person’s Facebook password by posing as someone else, he could then try to log in to your employee’s work account. If the password works, the hacker can access your business’s network.

How Does Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Make a Business More Secure?

With two-factor authentication solutions (2FA), a person logs in to a network using something he knows — a password — and something he has. The second item is usually a single use code — valid only for that session — sent to the person’s smartphone via text message or email. Since no one else should have access to that person’s smartphone and network password, two-factor authentication prevents most casual intrusion attempts. In the scenario described above, a hacker would need to know someone’s password — and steal his or her smartphone — to penetrate your network.

What Is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

Some highly secure businesses use many factors for user authentication. Some of the additional multi-factor authentication solutions that a business can use include:

  • Employee ID cards
  • Fingerprint scanners
  • Retinal scanners
  • Password dongles

Every authentication factor that you add makes your business more secure. Suppose, for example, that this is your company’s employee authentication process:

  • An employee needs an ID card to enter the building.
  • The employee enters a password at his or her computer to begin the login process.
  • Your network sends a text message to the employee’s smartphone. The employee must enter the code in the text message to continue logging in.
  • The employee completes the login process by scanning his or her fingerprint using a reader attached to the workstation.

Defeating the above login process would require access to your building, knowledge of a user’s password, possession of the user’s smartphone and a copy of his or her fingerprint.

What Is the Drawback of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

As you add more factors to the login process, you increase the amount of time required for each employee to log in to your network. That’s several minutes per employee — per day — of lost productivity. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) also requires IT support for annoyed employees who forgot their smartphones, can’t remember their passwords or don’t understand how to use their fingerprint scanners.

Understand Your Company’s Security Needs

Are you having trouble determining the best way to secure your company’s network? Complete the form now to contact PCH Technologies. Our trained network security experts are happy to help.