Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WEB & TECH / NOV. 26, 2014
version 2, draft 2

Does Your Website Need Two Factor Authentication?

Two Factor Authentication is a security process where a cellphone or email address receives a message, often with a code that has to be typed in, after a user logs in with his or her regular credentials.

This is used to prevent instances where a person’s password or username becomes compromised, since it is unlikely the individual would lose his cellphone at the same time. 

This security feature is recommended on any business-vital asset, ranging from site modification to email. There are a few basic criteria that you can use to determine if your website needs authentication.

Does it face the public?

An outward facing website can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This means that anyone, anywhere, can potentially target your site for takeover or vandalism. If the site was constructed with tools that allow manipulation through web based tools, then it is vital to have two factor authentication.

If the site cannot be modified online, only by accessing the web server through an alternative method, then you do not need to worry about authentication. In short – if you can modify spring for the security.

Is it your primary means of communicating with clients?

Most businesses communicate with clients through a wide variety of digital mediums. If your website is the focal point of your company’s marketing efforts, then you need to have as much protection on any outward facing entrances to the site management sections as possible. However, if the site exists as a static page with no interactive material, then you do not need to use Two Factor Authentication.

Do employees use the site to communicate with each other?

A website is now much more than a static page filled with content. Databases, chat rooms, wiki sites… All of these and more are usually hosted on the same domain. If you run your business through a web browser, then it is vital to assume you are at risk of having your business disrupted if you do not take a proactive stance with regards to web security.

Two Factor Authentication is vital in these instances, since they provide a real-world hook in to the often breakable username/password system in place since the dawn of the digital age.

Does it connect with inward facing services, such as a documents database?

Until recently, most companies segregated their internal network from the Internet. However, with the rise if the Cloud, and the desire of workers to take their projects home with them and type from the couch, many IT departments have been forced to create hybrid systems where internal resources are available through a login on an web site.

These sites stand as the greatest possible weak point in any security system, and as such needs to be protected from those wishing to do the company harm. Two Factor Authentication adds a great deal of complexity to any attack. This stops all but the most dedicated of saboteur from succeeding.

Internet security is always about protecting yourself against the ninety-nine percent of attacks. With rapidly changing technology, new exploits are found that pose risks to private individuals and companies on a daily basis.

Two Factor Authentication is the first serious effort to bring the fight for digital security into the real world. Through the use of keycards, cell phones, and email addresses, attackers are forced to expand the scope of their assault to include tactics that are time consuming and expensive.

While this will not deter those dedicated to causing harm, it offers vastly improved security that few amateurs will be able to break.

Image source: PC World

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