In the world of online business, keeping customers happy is the most important factor of all. While products and services need to be tailored with this sentiment in mind, you must not overlook the basic client needs. The concept of safety and security is their number one demand, which is why the right protocols must be followed in order to keep them protected. In this day and age, 2-factor authentication is an essential feature.
This is a term that you’ve probably heard before. In fact, it’s something that you probably encounter every single day without necessarily realising it. Here’s all you need to know about the whats, hows, and whys of 2-factor authentication.
What Is 2-Factor Authentication?
The term 2-factor authentication relates to the process of gaining access to an account or completing a desired operation. It essentially describes the idea of using two separate tools used to verify user identification.
This is a mechanism that is now utilised by most serious online business, and is something you will have experienced from the consumer perspective at one time or another. For example, if you’ve ever tried logging into Facebook with your password to then be told that you have to confirm the log-in attempt with a text code, this is 2-factor authentication in action.
There are several authentication tools that may be used, but the first layer of verification is usually something that you know. This could be a password, a pin number, or the answer to a memorable question.
The second layer of identification is where more options can be used. However, most items fall under two main categories:
Option A | Biological Possession – Scanning your fingerprint is the most common answer, but alternative solutions include retina scans or handwritten signatures.
Option B | Physical Possession – This can manifest as inputting a code that’s sent to your smartphone, pressing a button on a device from the company, or using an ID card.
In some cases, another layer of protection is provided by time and location settings. So, if a user signs in from one location then tries to sign in from 1,000 miles away just 20 minutes later, the identity authentication systems may automatically reject the sign in.
Why Is 2-Factor Authentication Important?
Studies show that roughly two-in-three people use the same password for all accounts. Meanwhile, even those that think they’ve been clever with an alphanumeric can easily be hacked, especially if they’ve ever used a shared public network to sign in.
The use of 2-factor authentication provides another layer of security, making it far less likely for fraudsters and hackers to infiltrate their account. Aside from the physical sense of security, this provides users with the mental reassurance needed to use a service with confidence.
Some business owners may argue that clients should take responsibility for their own accounts. While this is true, there is no doubt that addition 2-factor authentication is a worthwhile investment. The benefits of having this in place are plentiful, and include:
● Increased data protection for clients, bringing increased trust.
● Avoiding the need to chase fraudulent activities and other client problems.
● Gain better reviews, leading to greater trust from search engines.
● Know that all employee accounts are suitably protected too.
● Avoid losing money due to dishonest activities, such as sharing accounts.
● Gain confidence from a business perspective.
Frankly, then, 2-factor authentication (otherwise known as two-step, multi-factor, and multi-step authentication) can be hugely beneficial for consumer and business alike.
When Is 2-Factor Authentication Used?
The use of 2-factor authentication can be used in a number of situations in which the client needs to verify their identity. Naturally, though, it is most likely to appear during the processes where their details are at the greatest potential risk.
Here are some of the most common situations where the systems may be utilised:
● When a user logs into their account, particularly if using a new device.
● When completing a transaction - many credit cards and payment companies will automatically install two-step verification during the payment part too.
● When wanting to change security details, contact details, or other delicate information.
● When the user is setting up an automatic renewal or changes the settings of a paid service that could lead to future monies being transferred or taken out.
● When wanting to close an account
Given the wide range of scenarios in which 2-factor authentication may be required, it’s safe to assume that virtually all online businesses can benefit from adopting it.
How To Use 2-Factor Authentication
Appreciating the need for 2-factor authentication is one thing but knowing how to do it is another altogether.
While it is possible to take a DIY approach to this challenge, most companies find that outsourcing to a 2-factor authentication vendor is the best solution for their budget, time management and sanity. There are several options on the market, and they will analyse the needs of your website before implementing the suitable platform into your site’s DNA.
Before choosing a vendor, you will need to consider which identification methods will be used. For example, you may wish to combine a PIN code with thumbprint technology. There is no one right or wrong answer, and it’s possible that you’ll want to implement one method for mobile users and another for desktop users. Either way, you have to do what’s right for you.
Once applied in the right areas of your website, it should work automatically for all users that follow the intended navigational journeys. You won’t need to worry about anything, which is why the automated outsourced option is preferred.
The Final Word
In an era where data hacking and online threats are at an all-time high, every business owner should take the necessary steps to ensure that their employees and customers are suitably protected. While 2-factor authentication is only one of the key ingredients in the recipe for success, it’s one that can have a huge impact.
Now is the time to use it.