2FA: What You Need to Know

Two-factor authentication provides a strong defense against hackers. Learn about the benefits of 2FA and whether it should be mandatory.

As ransomware attacks and data breaches become more frequent, it may be time for managed service providers (MSPs) to change their strategy. Two-factor authentication (2FA) offers an additional line of defense against cybercrime. Read on to learn about the benefits of 2FA and how it can boost your business’ digital security.

What Is 2FA?

2FA is a login process that requires two layers of identity verification. Users must enter the correct username and password as usual, but must also clear another layer of security. This second factor can be anything from an answer to a personal question to the user’s voice or fingerprint.

With hackers employing more sophisticated methods of attack, 2FA can drastically reduce the risk of data breaches. Even if a hacker enters the correct username and password, they will not be able to access the user’s account. It is highly unlikely that they could provide the second factor needed to complete the login. Businesses that use 2FA are better protected against cyberattacks and can pass on the protection to customers.

Is 2FA Necessary?

As long as we use technology, there will always be security risks. Cybercriminals will continue to exploit vulnerabilities. The fewer obstacles they encounter, the greater the likelihood they will succeed in breaking in. The recent trend has hackers directly attacking MSP platforms – the very software designed to protect against hacking. By installing ransomware across these systems, hackers can extort large sums of money from their victims and undermine the MSP industry.

Many of these attacks succeed when the hacker obtains usernames and passwords. And those two credentials are often all they need to access most accounts. 2FA places a much-needed roadblock on criminals’ path to your data. Many MSPs have adopted 2FA to defend against data breaches. More are moving to mandate 2FA for all user accounts, creating a higher standard of security for the industry.

Passwords Aren’t Enough

Many users aren’t aware how easy it is for hackers to obtain their login credentials. Chances are that you use the same username and password for multiple accounts across the web. All a hacker has to do is figure out those credentials to access your sensitive information. For businesses with many employees and customers, even one compromised account can result in catastrophe.

When an account is protected by 2FA, hackers must clear another tall hurdle to get what they want. The difficulty of this task is enough to deter most hackers, who will likely move on to an easier target. Making 2FA mandatory would undoubtedly reduce the frequency of data breaches and foster confidence in the MSP industry.

Is 2FA Foolproof?

While 2FA provides a strong defense against hackers, it isn’t invulnerable. Hackers have found ways around certain types of authentication, including SIM cards. In response, MSPs are offering 24/7 monitoring and regular cloud backups. The more defenses and failsafes in place, the lesser the chance of a business falling victim to cyberattacks.

Despite its potential vulnerabilities, 2FA is infinitely more secure than a traditional username-and-password login system. If you have business or financial accounts, you’ll absolutely want an extra layer of protection. As more secure methods of authentication are implemented, 2FA will become a more versatile and effective security tool.

  • author Dan BardinPublished on August 15th, 2019

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