Two-factor authentication (2FA) is more than just complex passwords and usernames. It can benefit businesses and their clients in a multitude of ways by safeguarding sensitive information.
We have explored 2FA and multifactor authentication in great detail but have yet to explain the benefits 2FA can bring to your business, employees, and customers. Let's examine how 2FA can be advantageous for all parties involved.
The business benefit of two-factor authentication
1. Harder for criminals to gain access
Multiple layers of authentication require multiple sources of secure information and access (knowledge, possession, or inherence).
The fraud prevention mechanism provided by two-factor authentication (2FA) makes it more difficult for criminals to gain access to sensitive information. A fraudster attempting to access an account protected by 2FA will encounter more barriers and require more information to be able to breach these barriers and commit fraud.
A good example of fraud prevention is when two-factor authentication uses SMS to send a one-time code. For the hacker to access your account, they will require two distinct forms of identification, i.e., the password of the account and the user's mobile phone with the code.
Multiple layers can be added for separate actions as well, such as having a password + SMS 2FA solution for account access and SMS 2FA + inherence (biometrics) for transactions. This way, fraud and security risks are mitigated even further.
2. Reduced helpdesk and support costs
One of the most common support issues today is a forgotten password.
Without a 2FA system in place, recovering a password is only possible via a helpdesk that the customer contacts upon losing their password. A support helpdesk can be costly and cause the customer delay in their request to get a new password.
The average user calls a help desk 1.25 times per month. In an environment that is experiencing unexpected downtime or has undergone recent upgrades, this number can exceed three calls per month. Events and services organisation HDI estimates that at least 35-40% of those calls are related to password resets. Every customer password request that goes through a helpdesk will consume 20 minutes of the helpdesk support person's time.
Two-factor authentication can reduce the need for a customer to contact your business's helpdesk in the first place. This results in a fast and cost-efficient way of tackling your customer's password problem and, more importantly, a safe and secure method for end-users to reset their password.
3. Increase in internal security and mobility
2FA is excellent for a business's internal use too. When an employee works from home, for example, they can still have access to internal business systems by using 2FA tools to log in securely.
The benefits of secure remote working are plentiful. The workforce can become more flexible with working hours, and the company's critical data that employees handle from remote locations can be secured and safe from breaches. Internal security can equally benefit a business in the same way that user account security does. We have covered an internal security breach that 2FA could have helped avoid.
4. Facilitation of marketing and communication activities
SMS is a very effective tool for marketing, and the statistics speak for themselves. SMS marketing has impressive open and conversion rates compared to other marketing channels.
For an SMS marketing campaign to work, you will need customers' contact numbers to send your marketing messages to. Here's where a barrier arises: some customers are apprehensive about giving their actual phone numbers to companies in an effort to protect their privacy and security.
If your business uses 2FA, your customers will be much more likely to trust the security of your business and how you handle their data. Your customers will be more open to receiving marketing messages from your company if they have received 2FA messages in the past. Thus, implementing two-factor authentication creates an excellent opportunity for businesses to gain consent for marketing purposes and reach their clients quickly and reliably.
Benefits of 2FA for your clients and customers
While 2FA and MFA help companies prevent or reduce fraud, customers and users can benefit from increased security too. 2FA requires far more data and effort from the hacker's end to get into a customer's account.
2FA increases the security of customer accounts, but what if they still get hacked? In case of stolen passwords, identity theft, or hacking, customers can still regain control of their accounts via the multifactor authentication option. They can then set a stronger password so the account can't be breached again.
In the case of traditional password theft, the customer would have to contact the business we have an account with, inform them of the instance of fraud, provide evidence of the fraud, and start a long process of account recovery. With 2FA, they can regain control of their account within minutes of the hack occurring and resume using the product or service.
Along with easier and quicker account recovery, as mentioned previously, 2FA also enables users to log in without having to remember or enter their password manually.
This can be done if account access or transactional confirmations are made prior to an SMS pin or fingerprint scan. It still provides an extra layer of security and is much harder to hack but comes with the convenience of not having to remember the password. This is especially helpful nowadays when most people have multiple accounts with unique passwords.
3. Access monitoring
In addition to improved security management, 2FA usually comes with multiple device access monitoring and network access limiting. That means you can limit which PCs, mobile phones, locations, or networks can access your accounts. If the specified parameters are not matched at the time of login, a 2FA event will be triggered.
The user will know if someone else is trying to access their account in real-time. This helps prevent account breaches and gives the business an opportunity to counter fraudsters. Also, if an account is hacked, the business can track the perpetrator while providing the customer with the means to rapidly reinstate their security.
Two-factor authentication is a handy tool for businesses and their clients. It adds security measures, allows for monitoring, and reduces the likelihood of an account being hacked. Of course 2fa also has some cons that you have to be aware, but overall it will benefit any organization.
If your business lacks a certain level of security needed to protect your customers from cybercrime such as hacking, consider using 2FA to make your services more secure.