A Look at the Authentication Processes Available to Protect Your Network Security

MSP BusinessThose who own, manage or work for an organization in any capacity should be concerned with network security. Safeguarding user identities, passwords, and sensitive data is central to every organization’s success. A data breach has the potential to result in improper access to confidential files, the theft of valuable information and even the sale of such secrets to competing groups.

A cyber-attack that wreaks this type of havoc will inevitably threaten the business’s integrity, reputation and profitability. Clients lose faith in organizations that can’t protect data. Prospective business partners do not want to ally with companies that fail to safeguard valuable and highly sensitive data. Let’s delve into the different types of authentication processes available to shield your data from cyber-criminals.

Combat Cyber Attacks with Authentication

The specter of a cyber-attack should have every business owner and manager greatly concerned. One way to prevent such a devastating attack is with the use of an authentication process. A multi-layered authentication requirement for each employee login will prevent wrongdoers from accessing your system and compromising your network security. Do not assume it is too difficult for a layman to understand the differences between basic login authentication, two-step authentication, and two-factor authentication. These might sound like highly technical terms yet you can certainly gain a basic understanding of them by reading the words that follow.

The Importance of Two-Step Authentication

You can greatly improve your organization’s cyber security by enhancing your authentication process. Make use of either two-factor authentication or two-step authentication for employee logins and you won’t live in constant fear of a crippling cyber-attack. Though plenty of businesses use these two authentication terms interchangeably, there are some noteworthy differences between them.

First, let’s take a look at two-step authentication. This process mandates a single-factor for the user to log into the system. An example is a string of letters, numbers, and symbols in the form of a password. Some organizations have even gone as far as implementing a bio metric scan for this single-factor login.

The next step involves the transmission of information to the user for him to re-enter in order to complete his login. As an example, upon successfully entering his password, the employee is then provided with a code via text message, e-mail or another method. This code is meant for one-time-use and will be required each time the employee attempts to log into the system.

The importance of this second step cannot be overstated. Nowadays, merely relying on a single step for authentication is extremely risky. It is certainly possible for a hacker to obtain an employee’s password and username, log into the system, steal data and cause all sorts of trouble. Yet the odds of such a hacker successfully completing the second step of the two-step authentication process are quite low.

A Look at Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication, also known as “multi-factor authentication”, is considered to be even more reliable than two-step authentication. It is just as it sounds: two different pieces of data are necessary for successful authentication. As an example, imagine an employee proceeding through a fingerprint scan and then entering his unique password that matches his specific login name. Each of these pieces of information is completely unique. As a result, a cyber-criminal must figure out the employee’s username, his password and then somehow obtain an additional form of authentication in the form of a fingerprint, retina scan etc. to gain access. The odds of a cyber-thief finding his way through the two-factor authentication maze are slim to none.

In the End, It is Prudent to Rely on Two-Factor Authentication

It can be said that all two-factor authentication processes are also two-step authentication in nature. Yet two-step authentication processes aren’t nearly as secure as the two-factor variety. Don’t put your network security at risk by assuming single-factor authentication will suffice. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and implement a two-factor authentication requirement for all employees. Instituting such a system will help you sleep much better at night, give your clients much-needed peace of mind and ultimately, bolster your organization’s bottom line.

Nicholas Fortin
Nexxen Technologies, Inc.
West Palm Beach, FL

IT Support West Palm BeachNicholas Fortin is the President and Owner of Nexxen Technologies, Inc., which provides IT Support in West Palm Beach. With a wealth of experience in the IT industry and a very real sense of what it takes to run a successful business, he is the ideal person to help their clients achieve more through a more efficient use of technology. Nicholas is well versed in the management of computer networks, IT Infrastructure and Operations Services (IOS), as well as in IT security best practices, due diligence, PCI-DSS, SOX, and HIPAA compliance. Nicholas is justifiably proud of his ability to establish and maintain excellent working relationships, not only with their clients and vendors but with his co-workers too. Their 98% customer retention rate is a source of pride to everyone on the Nexxen Technologies, Inc. team too!