Are passwords the weakest link to your data security?

Removing the Barriers to Two-Factor Authentication

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that passwords are the weakest security for authentication. Organisations cannot afford to rely on passwords alone as their primary method for verifying user access to their crucial systems and data.

In the quest for greater protection from ever-increasing threats, digital security hasn’t always been centred around the needs and convenience of the individual user. It is often a hindrance for users to remember complex passwords that conform to specific conditions, or to change their password every three months.

This lack of focus on the convenience of the individual has led to security being compromised. As soon as users resort to writing down their passwords or reusing ones that are easy to guess, it creates security vulnerabilities and defeats the purpose of protecting your data with a password.

Two-factor authentication strengthens your digital security by adding an extra layer of protection. To authenticate users, two-factor authentication requires something the user knows – a piece of information, alongside something they have (a token) – such as a device. Without both of these elements, users cannot be granted access.

Two-factor authentication isn’t new. It’s likely you will have encountered it already. For instance, when you log-in to your online account with HMRC using your ID and password, a message containing a one-time access code will also be sent to your mobile phone. You will need to enter this code, in addition to your ID and password so HMRC can verify your identity. Many banks issue card readers to their customers which work in a similar way to provide the user with a code they can enter when undertaking transactions online.

Striking the right balance between adding sufficient protective layers to minimise unauthorised access, while not inconveniencing authorised users, is key.

Two-factor authentication offers flexibility with an array of tokens. This allows organisations to choose tokens that will have minimal impact on their users. This could be different tokens for different users.

Many organisations have different types of technology in place. If your executive-level employees have a company phone, they could receive a message to their phone to use as their token. For other members of staff, a physical token, such as a smart card, might be more appropriate. Two-factor authentication can be deployed around the needs of individual users, providing increased protection with minimal impact to users.

Budgetary considerations can also be accommodated. Physical tokens, like a smart card, are more expensive than ‘soft’ tokens, such as a smartphone app.

If management of two-factor authentication is a challenge for your organisation, we can manage this for you. At Digital Pathways, our systems plug in to your organisation’s Active Directory to check and authorise user access.

Every organisation can benefit from added protection. At Digital Pathways, we can advise on the simple things that can make a huge difference to your security. Give us a call on 0844 586 0040, or complete our contact form and we’ll be happy to get back to you.

 

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