What Is 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)?
2FA offers an additional layer of protection for online activity beyond just a username and password. While a single-factor authentication process asks users to simply sign in and enter a password, 2FA requires that users take an extra step before they gain access to their accounts. The additional authentication factor can be established in a few ways, whether it’s a text message with a one-time password (OTP) sent to a user’s cell phone, a code delivered via a voice call, or even using a push notification on a popular application such as WhatsApp.
How Does 2FA Protect Businesses and Customers From Cyberthreats?
In essence, 2FA is a crucial way of protecting sign-in and login operations by adding an extra layer of protection beyond just a password.
2FA is a potent tool to help protect against fraud. If a hacker gains access to a user’s password, 2FA prevents the bad actor from logging into the account, because the fraudster won’t have access to the device that generates the OTP for verification. Likewise, putting 2FA in place for your business’s application or website also means that if hackers try to use the same password across sites, they won’t have unfettered access. Given that nearly 70% of respondents in a recent PCMag survey admitted that they reuse passwords across sites, 2FA is key in protecting against this kind of fraud.
2FA is also a powerful line of defense against phishing attacks. Phishing is on the rise, and this way, if a user responds to a phishing email and supplies a password, that second layer of authentication is still required. 2FA prevents hackers from having access to all the keys to the castle, so to speak, because passwords alone won’t unlock the targeted accounts.
2FA is also key for businesses that have online portals that can grant access to sensitive information, such as healthcare organizations or educational institutions. For example, while patients and students might be able to see only a few pieces of information in their online views, providers often have access to a great deal of personal data. While organizations can have measures in place or adhere to specific encryption policies to protect this information, using just a password to keep out hackers is not enough. In these cases, it’s almost impossible not to think about 2FA. It's essentially table-stakes in these instances. It can help prevent security compromises on the front end: If a bad actor finds a password to unlock access to these online portals, they can't get in if a second factor is needed.
The Benefits of 2FA For Your Business
In addition to the protective benefits of 2FA mentioned above, implementing 2FA is a great strategy from a customer experience perspective. Using 2FA can demonstrate to your customers that you care about protecting their sensitive information, and it can be a key part of establishing a solid brand reputation.
In industries like healthcare and education, the implementation of 2FA becomes even more important in terms of maintaining that customer trust and remaining compliant. Let’s take the example of a telehealth practice. Both the patient and the provider might have different views in the practice’s telehealth portal, and the latter will certainly have access to proprietary information. If a hacker gains access to a provider’s password to the portal and 2FA is not in place, the telehealth practice runs the risk of having that sensitive patient data exposed. Having a 2FA solution in place is especially important in these instances, when the ramifications of a data leak can be particularly damaging.
On the whole, 2FA is a powerful tool for improving customer experience. Using a 2FA solution demonstrates that your business cares about your customers and that you’re taking the necessary steps to protect the data they provide. It’s also a great way to cement your business’s reputation as trustworthy.
How Can Businesses Get Started With 2FA?
If your business doesn’t already have a 2FA solution in place, now is the time to implement this protective measure. Luckily, just as 2FA can be simple from an end-user perspective — users just need to receive a text, take a call, or click through a push notification for an OTP — getting started with 2FA likewise doesn’t need to be complicated.
All-in-one 2FA solutions, like the Vonage Verify API, can offer your business a verification system that can seamlessly deliver OTPs to users across channels. Likewise, this kind of solution can be easily rolled out in different markets. Vonage has experience with the complex regulatory requirements for 2FA and can help with implementation in each region. Success-based pricing also means that 2FA doesn’t need to be overly costly to implement, as the solution only charges your business when an OTP is successfully delivered.
2FA solutions like this make it easy and cost-effective to set up one of the most critical cybersecurity measures available today. At this point, 2FA isn’t just a “nice-to-have” feature for your business’s online touchpoints: It’s now an essential part of any digital security strategy. Traditional passwords are no longer enough to keep hackers away, and implementing 2FA quickly and easily adds another layer of protection for your customers.
Ready to better protect your business using 2FA? Explore the Vonage two-factor authentication solutions now.