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Two Factor Authentication: Should You Do It?

There are many basic things you can do easily to improve the overall security of your system. For example, you might require complex passwords or encryption.

In fact, you may even consider the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) model that has been widely recognized as the most common commercial approach to providing secure access to networks and applications.

But we haven’t talked about one of the most important tools that you have at your disposal: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA can be a powerful tool if used correctly, and it can be one of those systems that can meaningfully increase your system’s overall security.

But should you use it?

Two factor authentication from hypershift saas consultants

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

Even if your organization don’t already use two-factor authentication in your own life, you’re no doubt familiar with it by now.

The basic principle of two-factor authentication is this:

Merely entering your username and password (single-factor authentication) isn’t enough. In addition, a second factor, like a randomly generated code sent to your phone, is deployed. Usually, this second factor requires authentication through another device, such as a cell phone, where SMS, email, and applications can verify your credentials.

When done right, two factor authentication is an incredible option that offers two distinct benefits:

  1. A second layer of authentication allows for better overall security from “brute force” attacks. Brute force attacks are when hackers run programs that attempt thousands of password and username combinations in order to gain access to a given account.
  2. It’s a great example of Zero Trust Security. In a nutshell, a Zero Trust systems assume that people make mistakes—and prepare for people’s mistakes.

It sounds great right? Well, in many ways, 2FA is great, especially for customers. But there are also potential downsides.

The Risks Of Two-Factor Authentication

The main risk with 2FA is the slight risk of potential spoofing of SMS text messages. This would allow hackers who have your password and phone number to intercept 2FA messages sent to your phone.

Though this is highly unlikely, you’re probably safer using an integrated app rather than a phone number. Instead of an SMS message, an authenticator app randomly generates a number that’s only usable for 30–40 seconds.

Another risk of 2FA has to do with user experience and error. 2FA often requires end users to have a specific second device available, increasing their likelihood of getting locked out of their account.

The Benefits Outweigh The Risks

2FA is easy to set up, and the overall benefits to security far outweigh any costs. Especially if you work with sensitive data, 2FA is an unquestionably strong security choice.

The benefits to customers and the overall increase in your security is well worth the cost. Not only do your customers know that you’re taking the security of their data seriously, you’re also giving them piece of mind.

So, should you adopt Two-Factor Authentication?

The answer is unequivocally yes, especially if you have sensitive data.

Whether you’re using an SMS service or integrating your system with an authenticator app, 2FA is well worth the cost of implementation. Your customers will not only thank you, but they’ll trust your company over other companies, and in a world where massive embarrassing data breaches happen to without warning, certainty isn’t something that you can put a price tag on.\

Hypershift is a consulting organization focused on SaaS, subscription software, and cloud technologies. We help organizations navigate their shift toward subscription software models. Our mission is to ensure best-in-class security, support, and management to optimize enterprise-level cloud strategies.