Two-Factor Security, also known as Two-Factor Authentication, is a security process whereby two benchmarks of verification (Such as a password and a unique digital ID Token) are required to access a device.
A simple everyday example of the two-factor authentication model is the trusted ATM; as the service requires a physical verification (the chip and pin card) followed by a knowledge verification (the four digit pin number) which when combined in unison on the ATM network thus allows the user to gain access to their account. The benefits of such forms of security on corporate infrastructure are unparallel. Gartner Research defines two factor authentication as the following: “a multi-factor authentication process is an approach to system authentication which requires the presentation of two (or more) authentication factor keys: a knowledge, possession and an inherence factor which, when combined, create the access solution for the gateway to the managed services or servers.” The diversity of titles surrounding this function highlights the lack of awareness. The following research identifies key factors surrounding the success of two-factor security and how these benefits can help organisations improve their security criteria.
IBM Research argues “by pursuing verification solutions for the security of corporate digital assets on diverse infrastructure platforms, organisations can implement two-step authentication protocols to help secure on-site/off-site data and knowledge management principles.” Two-step or even two-factor authentication models are, according to Cisco, “about the right balance. However, because it is more than just a matter of security it is about the evolution of knowledge dissemination which means data integrity is central.”
Lakshmiraghavan argues that “a system identifies a user through a user identifier, commonly abbreviated to user ID. The process by which a system confirms that a user really is who the user claims to be is called authentication. Two factor authentication requires the duopoly of ID and password to clear the security channel for access to the service or server. However, Schenier et al argue that pinning too much prevalence and emphasis on the User ID and password alone is futile as the problems faced by IT managers today are more problematic than ten years ago. Other researchers, like Das et al, argue that a changing workplace with ‘BYOD’ and wireless platforms have created massive headaches, one that single factor authentication – in a traditional alphanumeric password / user ID combo – fails to completely tackle. The researchers argue that networks “deployed in unattended environments, where the legitimate users can login to the network and access data as and when demanded creates a security concern. Two-factor user authentication protocols for SWN, can provide strong authentication based on establishing efficient security protocols.
The body of available commercial research similarly posits a massive security concern when basing the entirety of the two-step authentication process on traditional security models. According to Eve Maler from Forrester Research, two-step verification can help organisations with demanding factors, for example “if your service demands a second factor, even one as simple as SMSing an OTP, the friction in account access sharing goes way up unless the two people are already in the same room, with their mobile devices present and accounted for, at the moment when the account owner would normally have handed out his or her password like candy. IT security pros are typically delighted to do away with employees’ option for consensual impersonation, and indeed, privileged identity management systems work really hard to make it impossible for those with superuser powers to do.”
Centrality of security is a prime concern. Therefore, as the research highlighted in this paper indicates; two-step verification processes can help strengthen in-house security policies. Organisations wanting to improve their security backbone and move away from single end-user dominated security solutions need to engage with a professional IT security service provider such as Computrad.
Computrad offer a bespoke Two-Factor Authentication Solution that can help clients to maximise the benefits of their IT service solutions whilst simultaneously reducing the project expenditure. Computrad offer a tailored two-step authentication process that can help businesses maintain the highest industry-standard levels of security professionalism.
Get in touch with the Computrad team today to discuss, in detail, your two-factor authentication needs.
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