A survey by Paychex recently found that 68 percent of small business leaders remain unworried about their digital security. If you need proof, you can just look at the passwords they and their employees use. According to SecureAuth, a staggering 81 percent of Americans use the same passwords for multiple accounts, the majority of which are unimaginative old standbys like “1234567,” “qwerty,” and “password.”
These trends, compounded by the fact that passwords generally aren’t very airtight, turn the typical login and password combination into a paper shield for hackers. Even stronger passwords that include multiple uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and other characters often only take a few hours to crack with an advanced brute-force tool. Once they’re cracked, they’re often posted on the darknet or sold to the highest bidder.
Here’s where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in. 2FA forces users to input more than one field of identification to access their account. If you’ve ever used your PIN at an ATM, you’ve already used 2FA, but many other forms exist. When logging into your email, Google can send an alert to your phone that includes a login number, which you type on your PC to gain access to your account. Banks often couple passwords with one of your security questions. Whatever the tactic, it’s much sturdier than your average password. It’s still not foolproof, but it’s an excellent first-line defense against hackers.
However, implementing 2FA into your own business isn’t the easiest proposition. You’ll either need to create a custom solution — a big headache that may not be worth it for your small business — or hire a technical company suited for the job. This doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s worth noting, though, that whenever you bring in an outside party, it’s a potential failure point for your cybersecurity. It’s vital to vet them properly and ensure they practice what they preach.
2FA can’t be the beginning and end of your cybersecurity strategy, but consider it a large first step toward protecting your livelihood. Trust us — when the digital wolves come knocking at your door, you’ll be glad you installed the door in the first place.