What Is Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

two factor authentication 2fa

What Is Two Factor Authentication (2FA), And How Does It Benefit Companies?

Identity theft, hacking and phishing attacks are all on the rise, and costing individuals and businesses billions each year.  A successful hacking attack typically costs the businesses which are its victims more than money.  There is the additional expense, more difficult to quantify, in damaged reputation, as customers lose confidence in the ability of the company to keep their data private and secure.

The Impact of Hacking Attacks on Business

According to a recent study by Lloyd’s of London, global hacking attacks cost businesses more than $400 billion each year.  Those costs are multiplied by the expensive measures companies take to ensure the security of their data. Each year, for example, companies spend more than $75 billion each year on cybersecurity. 

Small Businesses Are Not Safe From Hacking 

Until recently, those attacks were targeted primarily against multi-national corporations, but increasingly cybercriminals are going after small businesses.  In 2013, 44% of small businesses reported at least one hacking attack, according to the National Small Business Association.  While large corporations can absorb the losses associated with a hacking or phishing attack, for small businesses, such attacks can be devastating in terms of both financial losses and damage to their reputation.

Identity Theft Affects Millions, and Is Increasing Every Year

It’s not only businesses which are the victims of cybercrimes.  In 2014, more than 17 million individuals were victims of identity theft, according to the US Bureau of Justice, mainly through the hacking of their credit or debit card accounts.  According to Business Insider, identity theft cost individuals almost $25 billion in 2013, $10 billion more than property theft.

The increase in recent years of both hacking attacks on business and identify theft aimed at individuals has many companies wondering if there is anything they can do to protect their data.  Fortunately, there is a way for businesses to protect the privacy of their customers and the security of their personal information.

What Is Two Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Two factor authentication, the latest advancement in information security systems, makes it more difficult for thieves to access customer data.  Most security systems are based on customers verifying their identity by providing a password and User ID. 

Two factor authentication provides an added layer of security by requiring system users to enter additional information which only the user has, such as something only the user knows, like a PIN or answer to a security question; something they have in their possession, like a mobile phone or ID card; or a physical characteristic, like their fingerprint or your voice.

Experts Agree:  Two Factor Authentication Protects Data Better

Following the 2013 hacking attack on the Saudi oil giant, Saudi Aramco, on Twitter. experts agreed that it was time for Twitter to join other social media sites like Google in implementing two factor authentication.  In an article with the title, “Following breaches, experts call for two-factor authentication on Twitter,” Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser for the security firm, Sophos, wrote:

“It is high time Twitter implement something to augment account security. Two-factor authentication would be a great option for protecting high-profile brands, celebrities and those who simply want that extra layer of security for their online identity.”

two factor authentication 2fa

The Benefits of Two Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication is relatively inexpensive to implement and offers several important benefits to help businesses protect the security of their data.  Here are 4 of the most imporant benefits of two-factor authentication:

  1. Improved security:  passwords and user ID numbers are relatively easy for cyber thieves to access.  Many people, for example, are afraid of forgetting their passwords and write them down in one or more places which thieves can find.  Two factor authentication makes it more difficult for thieves to steal customer data with features such as one time passwords (OTPs) which are good for only one login,  information which only the user has, or personal characteristics like fingerprints which thieves can’t duplicate.
  2. Customer satisfaction:  customers are naturally attracted to businesses which are better able to secure their data.  When they see that a business requires additional security information, they feel protected, and feel more positively about that business for ensuring their information is secure. Those positive feelings add to customer trust and boost customer retention.
  3. Increased worker productivity:  because two factor authentication makes data more secure, companies are more confident about permitting their employees to work remotely.  According to the Harvard Business Review, when Chinese travel website, Ctrip, allowed its employees to work remotely from home, their productivity increased on average by more than 13% and the company was able to save almost $2,000 per employee while also increasing employee retention.
  4. Reduced operating costs:  two factor authentication makes businesses more efficient and reduces operating costs.  For example, because there are fewer password resets, customers don’t need to call help desks as frequently.  In addition, companies spend less time contacting customers about suspicious activity on their accounts.  Finally, companies spend less money on expensive fraud review systems.

Conclusion

Companies which fail to protect the personal information of their customers lose both money and reputation.  For smaller businesses, those losses can be catastrophic.  Fortunately, there are forward thinking web hosting providers which have developed innovative approaches to help businesses with their data and privacy concerns. 

Founded in 2006, OrangeWebsite is a recognized industry leader in providing safe and secure web hosting services. Our two factor authentication service includes a special one-time passcode, sent to users through SMS, which users submit to ensure a secure login.  The cost is an annual fee of just €94.80.

If you would like to know more about the ways we can make your website safer and more secure, or would like more information about our two factor authentication services, contact us today.

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