With almost 43% of the total cyber attacks and data breaches targeting small businesses, SMBs need to figure out new ways of keeping their networks and customer data secure. The old, simple authentication method of passwords has become obsolete and can be compromised rather easily. Today, cybersecurity experts strongly recommend implementing 2-factor authentication coupled with the use of a randomized authenticator token to add an additional layer of security to the company’s networks. Let’s explore why 2-factor authentication is becoming a preferred choice of SMBs and how it helps with drastically improving network security.
What Is 2-Factor Authentication?
2-factor authentication, or dual-factor authentication, is a process of network security that requires users to enter 2 different authentication factors into the system to verify themselves. It adds an additional layer of security into the login process and asks the user to enter a unique randomized authenticator token or biometric authentication after they have provided their username and password. While the process is not foolproof, it makes the network more difficult to access and it can save a network from being breached as a cybercriminal would not be able to log in with just stolen credentials.
Is It a Good Fit For SMBs?
Implementing 2-factor authentication requires SMBs to invest more in software, and potentially new hardware. However, different solutions are available today that would help small businesses meet their budget constraints. Before implementing the new security mechanisms, SMBs must evaluate the data/resources which have to be secured and also the possible damage that may be inflicted by a security breach. That said, it would be a good idea to implement 2-factor authentication to secure company networks, web services login, or VPNs.
If you are considering the least expensive options, smart cards and USB tokens which plug into a laptop or computer will work. You can also partner with an MSP and have the cybersecurity experts enable 2FA and randomized tokens where it is needed.
How Can SMBs Use Different Security Factors To Better Secure Their Networks?
There are various ways to authenticate user access using the 2-factor authentication process. Currently, most of the authentication processes only rely on knowledge factors, like a typical password and username. With 2-factor authentication, an inherence or possession factor is added to make networks more secure. Let’s find out what different factors could be used for more robust security and how they work.
- Knowledge Factor
It’s something that a user knows, like a password, a PIN, etc. They might share this information with others or it may be otherwise compromised and could only be effective as the first layer of authentication.
2. Possession Factor
It could be something in possession of the user that could be used for authentication in the second layer of the authentication process. It may be a random authenticator token, an ID card, or a smartphone application through which authentication requests could be approved.
3. Inherence Factor
Also known as the biometric factor, it is something that is inherent in the user physically. It is, probably, the most effective way to add a second layer of security for SMBs in the bid to keep their data and resources secure. The inherence factor could comprise of personal attributes mapped by the physical characteristics of the user, like fingerprint authentication. Voice and facial recognition could be another option.
4. Location Factor
It usually represents the location used for attempting authentication and you can enforce it by limiting user authentication to particular devices in a specific location only. It can be tracked through IP address or GPS data of the source trying to gain access. Anyone trying to access from a remote location could be restricted this way.
5. Time Factor
The time factor only allows for user login during a particular time window permitted by the system. The time factor is not typically a good fit for SMBs as the time restriction can create a barrier for users that have permission to access the network, however, it can be implemented and used efficiently.
Not Sure Where to Start? KLH Can Help
Security factors can make unauthorized access more difficult and make the systems more secure. If the hackers only have the users’ login information, they would not be able to bypass the second factor of authentication. Hence, more important data can be saved from unauthorized access and makes 2-factor authentication something worth investing in for SMBs.
Deciding where to enable 2FA and setting up tokens can be intensive and confusing, and can be set up in an ineffective way. KLH can help SMBs get it right the first time. Contact us at 952-258-8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.