What is two factor authentication and why is it important?

Two factor authentication has increased in usage in the last few years, and is a great way to protect you and your business. Passwords should be difficult to work out, but many still use simple pass phrases as to not forget them. The easier, and more obvious a password is, the easier it is to brute force into your system. Two-factor authentication means that even if someone guessed your password, they still need a verification code to gain access. This can be done through applications, emails, and text messages. Different services use different tools, and some have bespoke applications. 

What types of two factor authentication are available? 

SMS text message authentication

As you would normally have sole access to your mobile phone, text authentication is a simple, yet effective solution for two-factor authentication. When you set up an account, they ask you for contact details. If you provided the company with a mobile number, you can use it for text verification. This option is set back by scenarios where you don’t have signal, and are problematic if you don’t issue work phones. If your employees are using their private numbers for authentication, this could be a security risk, and is harder to monitor. 

Email authentication

A better solution for businesses, email two factor authentication is the same as SMS text messaging, but a like or code is sent to your email address. The main benefit for using email over SMS, is that users within a company normally have a work email address. Making it securer, and easier to manage. The only downside is if you don’t have access to the email inbox for any reason.

Authenticator app

What if you are signing into your email account? Two factor authentication apps are downloaded onto your smartphone device, and when access is requested, it will ask you to approve or deny the attempt. The most common authentication app used for business is the Microsoft Authenticator. The authenticator app is the most secure option, but you have to have your phone with you in order to use it. 

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