What Are the Benefits of Using Two-Factor Authentication?

By Jack SteinLast Updated Jul 6, 2020 5:12:57 PM ET
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If you already follow recommended password security measures, two-factor authentication (2FA) can take your diligence a step further and make it even more difficult for cybercriminals to breach your accounts. The first verification layer requires your username or email address and password to log in to your accounts. The second layer of authentication works as an extra verification step that confirms it’s you and not a hacker using your stolen identity to sign in to your account.

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Unfortunately, many casual computer users don’t like the hassle of completing a second step to log in to their accounts, but they are leaving their sensitive information more vulnerable to hackers by skipping this extra layer of security. Let’s take a look at some of the most important benefits of using two-factor authentication.

Elements of Two-Factor Authentication

Three methods could be used to establish two-factor authentication: knowledge, possession and inheritance. Knowledge simply means knowing your password, PIN or finger-slide pattern and can always be expected to be the first step in authenticating your identity. Possession relates to having access to a physical element related to your account, such as the security number on the back of your debit card or credit card or the mobile phone number listed in your account information. Biometric characteristics like your face, retina or fingerprint make up the inheritance factor.

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Unfortunately, the voluntary usage of two-factor authentication by end-users is relatively small, both in organizational environments and the broader user community. Grzegorz Milka, a Google software engineer, revealed that fewer than 10% of active Google accounts use two-factor authentication to safeguard their private account information. IT departments can make a strong case for increasing the use of two-factor authentication by outlining some of the most important benefits.

Reduce Operational Costs

Password resets are among the most frequent reasons people call help desks, according to HDI, an industry research group. If a two-factor authentication system isn’t set up, you would have to contact the help desk to recover your account, which adds a significant amount of wasted time to your day and the company's cost sheet.

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Lorraine Cosgrove Ware, a professional research editor, further emphasized this fact by determining that the average user calls a help desk approximately 1.25 times each month. For this reason, replacing passwords with a two-factor authentication approach can greatly reduce the pressure on help desk staff and lower security management costs.

Improve Security

By requiring a second form of verification, two-factor authentication reduces the likelihood that hackers can successfully impersonate you and gain access to your devices, accounts or other valuable resources. For instance, SMS-based two-factor authentication avoids excessive and costly processes and systems while providing companies with a secure way to safeguard their information.

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This is achieved by entering a one-time PIN (OTP) code (second factor) that's securely sent to you via SMS before you can complete a transaction or log in to your account. Therefore, even if you're hacked and your password (first factor) is stolen — a pretty simple task for hackers, to be honest — they still can’t access your information, and you can regain control of your account in minutes to update your password.

Boost Business Productivity with Mobility

Many successful companies are embracing flexibility to achieve higher productivity. With SMS-based two-factor authentication, employees can virtually and securely access back-office systems, records, documentation and company applications on any device from any location without jeopardizing the company's network and confidential data.

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This extra layer of protection could allow companies to gradually empower their staff to work remotely. For many employees, the flexibility to access applications and vital jobs from alternate locations — particularly home — boosts their morale and their productivity level right along with it.

Prevent Fraud and Build Secure Online Relationships

Fraud in all its forms directly affects businesses and can lead to loss of trust, brand value and credibility — eventually destroying customer relationships. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that approximately 9 million people become victims of identity theft in the United States each year.

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The implementation of nonpassword-dependent two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of mobile security, which safeguards the company's website, transactions and clients. Moreover, by building a secure brand experience, companies increase their chances of creating ongoing interactions with their clients.

Provide a Comprehensive Mobile Engagement Strategy

Currently, customers and employees are accustomed to having various information and resources readily available at their fingertips. This degree of digital convenience provides immense opportunities for businesses, but it also adds new security risks and vulnerabilities if it isn’t implemented properly. Two-factor authentication offers much stronger user validation for today’s consumers and businesses. Those who neglect to take advantage of it as an essential part of their security strategy are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

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