2-Factor Authentication: Why Your Mobile Workforce Needs It Now

Cybersecurity is essential to keep information about your business private and avoid cyberattacks. It’s one of the most important aspects that businesses should pay attention to in the 21st Century.

This topic is so vital that recent research shows that current CEOs prioritize cybersecurity over physical security.

In 2020, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Workforces moved towards home offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is changing how businesses work. Some people will continue to work from home in the following months, and some may never return to the office.

Globalization also makes it easier for anyone to work from any country. The mobile workforce is growing and there’s no signal that it will stop growing anytime soon.

Unfortunately, working at home can create several security breaches in businesses. At their homes or during a trip, your employees may not have the same levels of protection that they would have at the office.

People can get infected with malware during their time off, they can be hacked, and their passwords can be discovered. A single mistake may cause you to have a huge problem on your hands.

So, how can you protect your information?

2-factor authentication (2FA) can be a solution that will help your company stay protected.

What is 2-Factor Authentication?

2-factor authentication, also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA), is a technological solution that implements additional layers of protection before information can be accessed. Basically, it introduces another step before a user can log in. Therefore, it enhances protection because it increases the number of steps a person has to take to gain access to a database.

To log into most websites, you only need a password. If your username and password match, the site allows your entry and you can see its content. However, this is not a very secure method of protecting data. With a single piece of information, the password, anyone could steal your employee’s identity and get access to classified information from your business.

You can see how 2FA works by examining how an ATM works. Before using it, you need your bank card and your password (or biometric identification, in some cases). This combination makes it impossible for someone to take your money if you ever lose your bank card because they won’t have the password. The same happens if they have the password, but not the card.

Why 2FA is Important for a Remote Workforce

Working from home often causes security breaches. Employees are often oblivious about the best cybersecurity practices in their daily lives. The recent spike in the number of breaches during the pandemic shows that.

In an office, each computer is programmed in a way that will diminish the possible entry points for hackers. However, when people are at home, they will probably use their own computers or smartphones, so it’s far more likely that they will come in contact with malware while accessing websites for leisure.

Right now, more companies are also using cloud services as a way to share vital information with the workforce. In many cases, people can only access this information while physically in an office before. However, now they can do it from anywhere. So, any person, including a hacker, can access your information with the right clearance.

This combination considerably increases the stakes of someone who should not have access to the information of your business receiving it. Using 2FA systems doubles the efficiency of the steps necessary to ensure security.

Even small businesses without much sensitive information can benefit from using additional layers of protection. You definitely don’t want third parties to have information about your customers or employees. Data leaks can even result in lawsuits in some cases, so preparation is essential before the worst happens.

Types of 2-Factor Authentication

Passwords are the most common method to authenticate your identity. These are other popular methods that you can use in 2FA:

Biometric Identification

This method is popular for phones. It’s effective because only the registered person can access the system, so the chances of breaches are much lower. Fingerprints or retinal scans are not easy to fake. While you could hack a system and change a password, the same can’t be said for a fingerprint.

Phone Verification

The user registers a number and receives a text message whenever they try to log in. By using the code, the system can then be accessed. The message is usually short (four to six digits) and changes every time, so it can’t be faked, but it’s not long enough so it becomes a hassle when you want to log in.

Push-based Verification

After you install the software on your device, it sends a prompt to your phone during the login. Then, you can either approve or deny the attempt. It’s one of the most straightforward methods, and it’s great for mobile work.

USB/Card

You use a physical token (generally a USB device or, in the case of banks, a card) to access the information. If you use this method, you’ll have to carry the token with you at all times or you won’t be able to access the data.

Email-based Systems

You will receive an email with either a number or a link. Like the codes sent by phones, you simply need to use it to get clearance.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Using 2FA?

It’s impossible to deny that 2FA systems offer several advantages to its users. However, 2FA also has some drawbacks, especially when implementing the system for the first time.

Pros of 2FA for Your Remote Team

These are some of the main advantages that you will get by using 2-factor authentication:

  • An extra layer of protection: Your data is more secure when you use this system. Many users choose passwords that are too easy to guess (like “123456”) or write down their passwords somewhere. So, passwords are poor protection by themselves.
  • A boost in reputation: Employees and customers will both appreciate that their personal information is secure. A leak is bad press for a company, so avoiding one will boost the confidence that people have in your business.
  • Reduction in operating costs: Over time, 2FA will diminish the time that your company spends resetting passwords. Accounts will suffer from less suspicious activities, so you don’t need to change passwords all the time.
  • It’s highly customizable: You can pick whatever method suits your business as there are several options to choose from.

Cons of 2FA for Your Remote Team

2FA may be lacking in these areas:

  • It’s not infallible: 2FA and MFA systems are good, but they’re not completely hacker-proof. You need a robust system to be fully protected from external threats.
  • You still have to store your authentication factors safely: If you lose the factor that authenticates your entry, you will lose access to the system, which can make you lose some time.
  • Hard for non-tech savvy users: Employees without technical skills may need additional training to use some of the systems properly.

Which 2-Factor Authentication Should You Pick?

App-based services are a pretty good pick. Both models with code verification and push notifications work well. They’re easy to use even if your employees are not very experienced with technology.  Anyone proficient with using a smartphone will learn the ropes quickly.

Another kind of system that is very secure is using a USB device. However, it’s not as quick to use as the other models, so there’s a trade-off between security and usability.

The only systems that you should actively avoid are the ones that use SMS. Telecom companies are not necessarily very reliable and SIM cards can often be cloned. Also, it’s easy to look at passwords sent by SMS if lock-screen notifications are currently enabled on your phone.

Which system to pick? There’s no universal answer here. It’s important to choose one that will suit your needs, ranging from the most secure to the handiest methods.

Triofox Has The Solution You Need

If you’re looking for a new solution that will enhance how you share files with your employees, Triofox is the right answer. Our company uses built-in 2-factor authentication solutions to enhance the productivity of your business without compromising the security or the privacy of your data.

Do you want to upgrade the security of your mobile workforce? Call Triofox to get the solution you need.

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