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Why two-factor authentication can save your business

Why two-factor authentication can save your business

From worms to viruses and denial-of-service attacks, our cyber safety nowadays is constantly at risk. As threats multiply and hackers get increasingly creative you need more protection. Advanced access control methods such as two-factor authentication can add an effective security layer against malicious attacks.

 

Cybercrime in the business world

 

The first computer virus creators and hackers weren’t motivated by profit. They just saw hacking and viruses as an opportunity to flaunt their talent and gain notoriety. Over the years, the focus has gradually shifted from fun to finance. Today, most cyber-attacks have one goal in mind – profit.

 

Larger companies remain the prime targets of cyber-attacks. However, increasingly small businesses are falling victim to attacks as well.

 

As a business owner, you have to familiarize yourself with the most common attacks in the corporate setting. This will help you devise an effective defense strategy. Let’s look at the most common threats.

 

Malicious code

This includes worms, viruses, and Trojans, commonly known as malware. Systems get infected through risky online behavior. This includes suspicious links, email attachments, and software downloads.

Phishing attempts

These involve false requests for personal data. It may be from a website that impersonates a reputable website. Or it may be an email masquerading as an email from a reputable sender.

Denial-of-service attacks

DDOS attacks cause service interruption by preventing users from accessing the targeted resource. These involve “flooding” the network with requests.

Password attacks

Cyber-criminals will try to guess passwords so as to gain access to your systems. They may use programs that generate password combinations or combinations of common words from a dictionary.

Ransomware

This is becoming an increasingly popular form of malware with cyber-criminal. By encrypting the data on the corporate server, the program holds the IT system hostage until a ransom is paid.

 

What can you do to strengthen your cyber defenses?

 

To ward off malicious attacks, educate your staff about common cyber threats. Also, make sure that they understand the importance of adhering to corporate security policies. Keep your software up-to-date, control the data flow and team up with experienced IT professionals to ensure a high level of cyber safety.

 

On this note, make sure you also consult IT-experts when assessing your security needs. Work together to develop a comprehensive security strategy. Make sure to cover all segments that need extra protection. This includes a good incident response plan. It will help you cope with the aftermath of a security attack and minimize costs and recovery time.

 

One of the most effective ways to boost your defenses is utilizing (2FA). This is the so-called two-factor authentication method. Let’s see how it works.

 

During password attacks, hackers try to access the victim’s resources by using software to guess the login combination. Logically, choosing strong, unique passwords can increase the level of protection. However, passwords are a single-factor authentication method. This means once they’re cracked, your data is immediately exposed.    

 

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security. It does this by requesting an additional authentication factor. Basically 2FA makes it exceptionally hard for hackers to access your resources. This is since guessing the password is no longer sufficient.

 

What do we mean by authentication factors?

 

To put it simply, 2FA involves two separate identity verification factors –an online and offline component. The online component is the password. The offline component can be any of the following.

 

Hardware tokens – these are small devices that generate random and frequently changing number combinations. To access a secure server, you enter the numbers currently displayed on the screen. Biometrics – this method uses physical attributes as an authentication factor. This includes fingerprint, palm, voice, face, iris or retina.  It’s a more expensive 2FA method requiring specific equipment, such as a fingerprint reader or biometric scanner. Mobile tokens  if your employees don’t want to carry tokens around, they can opt for the soft token option. Mobile tokens are software apps installed on smartphones. They serve to generate unique codes with limited validity.

 

Keep in mind that people are more likely to misplace a hardware token, or at least it takes them longer to realize it. On the other hand, it only takes us a minute to notice our smartphone is missing, since we tend to carry it everywhere.

 

How can two-factor authentication enhance your corporate security?

 

Modern-day businesses have quite a large dependence on digital data. So a single security breach can severely damage your financial health and disrupt your operational flow.

 

Having one’s safety compromised is a nightmare for anyone, but there is much more at stake in a corporate setting. Once your defenses are down, hackers can access your entire server. This will allow them to get their hands on confidential client information and intellectual properties.

 

With two-factor authentication, even if your login credentials get stolen, your security won’t be compromised. 2FA does add a few seconds to the login procedure. However, it severely minimizes the possibility of data breach and credential theft.

 

Do note, not all of your business assets require a strong security measure. You should use two-factor authentication to safeguard sensitive resources. This includes applications that are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Are you using remote-access VPNs to establish secure connections?  You might want to consider adding two-factor authentication for your VPNs as well.

 

The same goes for any cloud applications you may be using. Cloud services are basically accessible to multiple users, from multiple locations. As a result, the need for stronger authentication measures is obvious.

 

Remote teams commonly use mobile devices to access the corporate network. This, combined with the fact that they can serve as an authentication factor themselves, makes them a tempting target. Smartphones can be easily misplaced or stolen. So the safety of any employee login credentials stored on these devices is vital to your network security.

 

You can use two-factor authentication to protect your corporate email accounts.

 

Email security is essential because of the myriad of business and personal data we keep there. Also because of the fact that most of us tend to reuse passwords. And no matter how strong your password is, someone can still crack it, provided they have sufficient time and resources.

 

Two-factor authentication safeguards against this kind of access, as the attacker is unlikely to also get a hold of your token, smartphone or fingerprint.

 

two-factor authentication can protect your data and investments against all kinds of malicious attacks

Biometric security

 

Some businesses, such as R&D companies, deal with sensitive and confidential data. For them, it’s wise to also use biometric-based 2FA for identification and access control. The advantage of biometric security is that nobody can falsify it or transfer it to another person.

 

Improving security is vital to a business

 

Aside from boosting your overall security, strong authentication practices improve your brand reputation. Thus making you more reliable in the eyes of your existent and potential customers.

 

Computer technology is evolving fast, but cyber threats are growing at an even faster rate. That’s why you must do your best to ensure the safety and integrity of your critical data. 

 

The IT experts at Inspired Techs understand that constant vigilance is the key to cyber safety. Our teams can come up with solutions to any IT issue you’re facing. If you need help assessing your IT needs, a way to optimize the efficiency of your systems and servers, or a foolproof cyber-security strategy, get in touch with us today! We’ll do our absolute best to keep your assets safe and secure.