Some say we’re living in a post-password world. With technology constantly evolving and cyber criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated, passwords no longer provide the total web and data safety businesses require. Two step verification is an easy way for businesses to upgrade.
Three Cherries is an IT & Telephony support business in the UK. We help SMEs and educational organisations get the most from their systems and secure their infrastructure against cyber threats.
In this blog, we discuss two step verification and explain why adopting it is good business practice.
What is Two Step Verification?
Essentially, two step verification is about adding an extra step between the act of entering your password and logging in to the account. It’s an additional layer of security that ensures only verified users are granted access. The second step in two step verification typically involves inputting one of the following factors:
- Something you own – a code is sent to your phone via an authenticator app or SMS.
- Something you know – a piece of information is requested that only you know, e.g., the answer to a security question.
- Something you are – unique, biometric credentials, e.g., Face ID or Touch ID
Why is Two Step Verification Important for Business?
Passwords are notoriously the weakest form of verification. A cyber criminal seeking access to your sensitive business data can easily steal, guess, or hack your passwords through brute force, password spraying, or phishing scams. More than that, many businesses don’t have processes in place to regularly update passwords. As a result, a business who only uses passwords to authenticate its users is likely to be vulnerable to cyber crime and data breaches.
Even a minor data breach can have significant consequences for a business. The average cost of a data breach in the UK stands at an estimated £8,460 – and, of course, this can be much higher for large businesses, rising to £13,400. From long term financial difficulties to severe operational disruption to a loss of stakeholder trust, a lack of adequate security measures can have a considerable impact on your business’ future. Two step verification is an easy way to upgrade them, putting an additional barrier between your sensitive data and the world of cyber crime.
How Does Two Step Verification Work?
The process of two step verification comprises the following flow of actions:
- A user inputs their username and password into the website, device, or service.
- The password is validated and, if correct, the user is eligible for the second step.
- The website, device, or service requests a second piece of information or sends a code to another device owned by the user.
- The user completes the second step by providing additional credentials and is fully validated for access.
Examples of Where Two Step Verification Could Be Used in Business
Many businesses have password vaults to enable employees to log in to a range of different websites and applications. These vaults are therefore highly sensitive and critical to business operations. Two step verification will dramatically reduce the risk of unwanted people gaining access.
Internal Systems, Devices & Applications
Two step verification can be deployed across all business devices and programmes including accounting systems, Office365, and other internal applications. It goes without saying, but the data contained in these systems is incredibly valuable to your business. Asking employees for additional credentials when signing in is a necessary bolster against unknown cyber threats.
Benefits of Two Step Verification for Business
Not many of us choose passwords that are unique and secure enough. Two step verification provides the additional security necessary to stop would-be hackers in their tracks. Whilst stealing, guessing, or phishing for a password is relatively easy for a seasoned cyber criminal, reproducing something unique like biometric data or intercepting an authentication code is much more difficult.
We’ve already highlighted how costly data breaches can be through a combination of system repairs, reinstatement, and operation disruption. Upgrading your security procedures with two step verification reduces the risk of a serious incident occurring, and means your revenue stream is less likely to be interrupted.
Under GDPR, businesses have an obligation to protect any sensitive data that is provided by their customers. Deploying two step verification is an easy way to ensure your business is upholding these regulations.
Client & Stakeholder Trust
Two step verification isn’t just about internal and employee procedures; it also enables you to provide a secure brand experience to your customers and minimises the risk of a cyber attack damaging your reputation. This enables you to foster positive relationships with investors, customers, and other stakeholders.
Facilitates Employee Mobility
As work becomes increasingly hybrid and remote, so do cyber threats become more prevalent. How can you ensure your business’ devices and data are protected when they are geographically dispersed? Two step verification enables your employees to work on-the-go, from anywhere, and on any device without impacting your security.
Early Warning Against Hacks
Finally, if a hacker is attempting to gain access to your data, two step verification will provide an early warning. If they have succeeded in acquiring a password, they will become eligible for the second step. Receiving this notification, you will have the opportunity to intervene, update the password, and proactively apprehend breaches before they occur.
Business Cyber Security Support with Three Cherries
Three Cherries supports the IT infrastructure of businesses all over the South West of the UK, enabling them to achieve their security objectives. If you want to get started safeguarding your data, we can help you implement a robust cyber security strategy.
Get in touch to talk to a member of our team!
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