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The Importance of Two-Factor Authentication

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You can never be too cautious with your personal information online. As cyberattacks become more and more common, protecting your data is increasingly difficult. In fact, a study from Juniper Research found that by 2023, cybercriminals are expected to steal an estimated 33 billion records.

In response to the growing number of cyberattacks, many companies are utilizing two-factor authentication (also called multi-factor authentication) to enhance their cybersecurity.

While no cybersecurity method is foolproof, using two-factor authentication can add an extra layer of security to protect your online accounts.


What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

While complex passwords can help deter cybercriminals, they can still be cracked. To further prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to employee accounts, two-factor authentication is key.

Two-factor authentication adds a layer of security that allows companies to protect against compromised credentials. Through this method, users must confirm their identity by providing extra information (e.g., a phone number or unique security code) when attempting to access corporate applications, networks, and servers.

With two-factor authentication, it’s not enough to just have a username and password. In order to log in to an online account, you’ll need another “factor” to verify your identity. The second factor is often a one-time code sent to your cell phone via text. This additional login hurdle means that would-be cybercriminals won’t be able to easily unlock an account, even if they have your password in hand.

A common example of two-factor authentication is withdrawing money from an ATM. The user must present both their debit card and their PIN to complete the transaction.

A more secure way to complete two-factor authentication is to use a time-based one-time password (TOTP). A TOTP is a temporary passcode that is generated by an algorithm (meaning it’ll expire if you don’t use it after a certain period of time). With this method, users download an authenticator app, such as those available through Google or Microsoft, onto a trusted device. Those apps will then generate a TOTP, which users will manually enter to complete login.

Why Two-Factor Authentication and Password Management Are Important

As two-factor authentication becomes more popular, some states are considering requiring it for certain industries. As cybersecurity concerns continue to grow and cyberattacks become more common, other states may follow suit.

Even if it’s not legally required, ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your organization’s password-protected information. Effective password management protects the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of an organization’s passwords.

Above all, you’ll want to create a password policy that specifies all of the organization’s requirements related to password management. This policy should require employees to change their password on a regular basis, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, and use special characters in their password.

For additional cyber risk management guidance and insurance solutions, contact a member of our Choice Insurance Team. Get started here: