A Hitchhikers Guide to Two-factor Authentication

 

Many companies are aware of basic security measures such as complex passwords and two-factor authentication, but surprisingly few actually utilize them to increase security. Here we’ll take a look at how simple they can be to implement.

Let’s start by demystifying two-factor authentication. As the name implies, this method of authentication typically relies on a password or PIN and one additional factor for authentication, sometimes something physical like a bank card. In this scenario, first you swipe, then you input your PIN. That’s two-factor authentication and it’s something that most of us use on a daily basis.

This can also be applied to your Gmail security. In this scenario, after enabling two-factor authentication for your account, you can either sign up for text message authentication or download the free authenticator app offered by Google from your phone’s app store. Now, when logging into your email you will not only be asked for your usual username and password, but you will also be asked for a special “Token” or PIN acquired from either text message or the app.

While top level data breach prevention should be handled by a company’s IT, users can both empower and safeguard themselves by doing something as simple as signing up for two-factor authentication.

The majority of security breaches aren’t as glamorous as Hollywood would lead you to believe. It is often as easy as a password left on a sticky note or using the same password across all of your services. By taking a few simple steps towards securing your data, you can do your part in protecting your company from a potential breach.

Thanks for tuning in to this first part of a series of posts on data security.