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Two-Factor Authentication: The Pros and Cons

With digital security a major talking point, guarding your organisation’s knowledge and data is integral to most businesses. In recent years, two-factor authentication has become more prevalent as a way of protecting against cyberthreats. Here are the advantages, as well as the drawbacks, to that approach.

Learn more about two-factor authentication in our comprehensive guide! 

The pros

It adds a second layer of security

This is an obvious point to make, but it is also the most obvious benefit of employing a system of two-factor authentication. Whereas a password has been the modus operandi for pretty much as long as accounts have needed to be kept private in the digital world, a password only offers one layer of security. If that password is discovered, then that is security breached. Strong passwords have been recommended for some time, usually involving a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, but the fact is it remains only one form of protection.

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“Two-factor authentication offers a second layer, and then a 100% increase in the security of your data. It’s common sense, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is true,” says Holly Adams, a tech blogger at Academized and PaperFellows.

It adds variation

That 100% improvement in security levels only applies if you use a second password in the same manner that you employ the first. The truth is, two-factor authentication usually combines the authentication systems you use, therefore increasing security levels to a much greater extent.  

As well as using mobile devices as a means of sending on a security key (a tried-and-tested two-factor authentication process), other means of achieving this, such as inherent authentication, using a physical characteristic to identify you. This could be fingerprint technology, retinal-scanning or a voice-activated system, for example. These all greatly enhance your security systems when employed as part of a two-factor process.

It can be cost-effective

Two-factor authentication systems are not expensive as a rule. If you decide to introduce retinal scanning as a second step, then obviously the price is going to increase, but advancements in these techniques mean that you can also employ these types of systems at relatively cost-efficient prices these days.  

Click here to get our whitepaper on how 2FA lowers the risk of data breaches


“The truth is two-factor authentication systems are so popular because they are usually relatively cheap to implement,” argues Kate Forbes, a journalist at StateofWriting and Best Assignment Writers.

The cons 

Time

When it comes to time, everything is relative. So, whereas for many the time it takes to access accounts with a two-factor authentication process would be negligible in terms of capacity, for others, this could be a wasteful process which, when spread out over employees, does indeed equate to inefficient use of time. Some two-factor authentication systems, such as SMS, are obviously quicker than others to implement, of course, so the proper research is recommended here if this is a concern.

It’s not foolproof

The reality is that no security system is totally foolproof – that is the nature of the cyber landscape right now. Two-factor authentication processes are certainly more effective than one-factor systems, that much is evident, but the determined hackers can still implement any number of devious schemes and malware threats to undermine your system.  

That is not easy to achieve, however. The ways in which two-factor authentication systems can be circumvented or breached will depend on several factors, not least the kind of authentication systems that you actually use, as some are more effective than others. But while a password, for example, can be inadvertently shared, the same cannot be said of inherent recognition. However, cybercriminals have developed increasingly devious underhand yet sophisticated means of copying this information too. Nothing is foolproof when it comes to cybersecurity.

Cost

Once again, this is relative to the organization, but inevitably a two-factor authentication system will involve some extra cost, and for smaller organizations that can be restrictive. As there are so many options out there, the cost increases can be minimised, however, so this need not rule out the adoption of one of these systems.

Click here to get our whitepaper on how 2FA lowers the risk of data breaches


They can malfunction

This point obviously depends on the system you implement, but the more sophisticated the two-factor authentication system, the greater the possibility there is for malfunctions to occur. It may not be likely, but is possible, and any instance affects productivity. 

Aimee Laurence can be found offering her expert insights as a tech blogger at UK Custom essays  and Best Essay Help, where she focuses on various business subjects. Aimee also tutors at Essay Writers Canberra.

Aimee Laurence
2019-09-18 00:00:00 UTC
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