Does Your Small Business Need Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Half of all cybersecurity attacks are directed at small businesses. 

This statistic sounds shocking at first, but consider this: hackers know that many small businesses don’t consider themselves prime targets. It’s this mentality that allows hackers to prey on small businesses’ vulnerabilities while they aren’t looking. 

Fortunately, small actions can make a huge impact. One simple way to keep your small business accounts protected is to implement two-factor authentication (2FA). In this article, we’ll discuss what two-factor authentication is and why your small business definitely needs it.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is a way to secure an online account using an additional authentication factor, aside from the usual login credentials. So, after entering a username and password, the user would further prove that they are who they say they are with an additional step. 

You might have these controls on some of your personal accounts already. Google, for example, makes it easy to opt into two-factor authentication. If you log into your account from an unfamiliar device, Google sends a notification to your phone where you can authorize the login. According to Google, this simple second step has blocked 100% of automated bot attacks and 96% of phishing attacks.

These additional steps, or factors, can be:

  • Something you have: This includes something you can hold. A few examples could be a handheld device, a key fob, or an identification card. 
  • Something you know: This is something that you know, which could be a password, PIN code, or security question. 
  • Something you are: This is a biometric form of authentication. A good example would be a fingerprint reader or a retina scanner, both of which have become popular on smartphones. 

This additional layer of security is in place so that if your login credentials were to be stolen, your data would still be protected by an additional control. Two-factor authentication is also referred to as multi-factor authentication, but this term can include more than two factors as well.

Why Do Small Businesses Need Two-Factor Authentication? 

No matter how small your IT budget, your business needs two-factor authentication. This extra layer of security takes minimal time to implement (as little as one to two minutes for some accounts) and will go a long way in protecting your account information—for free. 

Your email accounts having 2FA is especially vital because hackers with access to your email can use the “forgot password” function to steal your password. Think for a second about the amount of account information, client data, and other confidential information sitting in your email folders. Then consider what they could email your clients to steal their data, or what they could email your coworkers to gain access to more and more accounts and files. A hacker could take advantage of endless opportunities to exploit your data. 

Two-factor authentication is an easy choice. It’s free, takes a very small amount of time, and can keep your small business’ data safe. Now that you’re on board, we have a few other suggestions to keep in mind. 

That Sounds Easy! What Else Can I Do? 

Here are some other quick, easy, and painless ways to keep your data safe:

  • Use different passwords for each of your accounts. (Try a password manager if you’re afraid you’ll forget them!) 
  • Create complex passwords that are at least eight characters and include capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Refrain from using common words, names, and dates in your passwords that could be easily guessed, especially those that are personal to you.
  • Keep your antivirus software up-to-date and consistently scan your computer.
  • Back up your data regularly to ensure that you always have access, even if the worst were to happen.
  • Download a virtual private network (VPN) on your computer to use if you ever find yourself on public Wi-Fi.

If security tasks give you a headache and you, quite frankly, have better things to do, we can help. Technology Lab allows you to offload security responsibilities to us so that you can do what you love and what you do best—your business’ core operations. 

Contact us to learn how we take care of security so you can keep your data secure without the hassle.