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Why you need to learn two-factor authentication

Business Technology | April 16, 2013

Passwords aren’t sufficient anymore. That’s been demonstrated often by hackers, who crack passwords to gain access to the internal Web sites, computers, devices and online bank accounts of small companies across the country. Fortunately, Biztech Magazine has advice: Business owners can take steps to avoid the security holes of passwords. They can safeguard their Web sites and devices with two-factor authentication. This kind of move will greatly reduce companies’ susceptability to cyber criminals.

How it works

As the name suggests, two-factor authentication requires users to take two different steps to log onto a Web site or device. Usually, people will have to still use a password but will also need to rely on a second device to gain access to their computers or to important Web sites. As an example, after putting in a password, an employee might have to swipe a smart card, insert a token or use a biometric identifier to continue. This two-step process immediately upgrades a company’s online security, according to the Biztech story.

The starting point

Not all your employees, though, will be happy about two-factor authentication. It takes more work on their part, after all. But Biztech does provide a few recommendations for smoothing this rollout. First, the magazine suggests that you choose a second factor that will cause the least disruption among employees. As an example, Biztech uses the example of smart cards. Mobile devices such as smartphones are typically not compatible with these cards. That could be deal breaker for some businesses. Companies that have personnel that work from a wide range of locations might not do well with physical tokens.

Don’t rush

If you want your staff to be comfortable with two-factor authentication, you’ll want to roll out your program slowly. This gives your workers time to adjust to the fact that their log-on procedures are going to be undergoing a fairly momentous change. Additionally, it gives you the chance to educate your staff about how two-factor authentication works and why it’s so critical to the company’s security.


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