by Anna Wybieralska Sep 1, 2020

Nowadays, the online world is mobile. You can access the web from virtually any location on Earth to watch videos, check your bank account, do some online shopping, and so on. The possibilities are endless and can be adjusted to be easily accessed by users. However, it also means that it’s more difficult than ever to secure your accounts. Think about it. If it’s so easy for an owner to log in, it’s not gonna be much more difficult for a hacker or thief. That’s where two-factor authentication comes to the rescue.

What is two-factor authentication?

Essentially, it’s a second layer of protection against unauthorized access. It works on the basis that your identity has to be confirmed through two elements before you can access a platform or an application. Those methods can be as follows:

  1. Something you know - it’s usually your login and password
  2. Something you have - like a PIN, token or an ID card. You can even confirm your identity via mobile phones, like a text message or an automated voice message
  3. Something you are - like a fingerprint scan, face or voice recognition

Notice that there are three points and not two? That’s because option 2 and 3 varies depending on the application you want to use. Typically platforms like banking apps, email engines, or company tools will ask you for something you know and something you have. For example, you will be asked to log in and then confirm your identity with a code received on your mobile phone. 

How does it work?

Usually, when you want to access the platform you are asked for a login and password. That’s the first layer of protection that can be easily compromised. How, you might ask? 

First of all, let’s talk a bit about the statistics. On average, an online consumer has around 25 different accounts that require a password. And that is only private accounts. You should add at least half a dozen company accounts that are used for logging into the computer, for wi-fi, etc. That stacks up to an impressive number of passwords that are hard to remember. So, in order to make it easier, users usually create a few complex passwords. Or even worse, they use the same password for everything. This means that if a hacker would try to get access to one account, they could quite possibly get access to everything.

Another issue is when people use a seemingly great feature - Keep Me Logged In. It might seem like a sneaky move since you’re not typing your password, but in reality, you’re reusing existing data that could be stolen. As a result, hackers can simply extract the stored data and impersonate you to access the platforms.

That’s why two-factor authentication is pretty much the best way to secure your precious accounts. If you’re still unsure, read about all the benefits it brings:

  1. It improves security. It greatly decreases the chance of malicious attacks that would result in sensitive data being compromised. Your emails, analytics, and contacts will be safe as your platform will require an additional identity confirmation which hackers don’t have. Even if a hacker would gain your password, he’s still missing the second element that gives access to the account. And, you will also receive a security alert so you can quickly change your password.
  2. You can build better relationships. Nowadays, people pay attention to security. They want to feel safe and be aware that their data is protected as well. Knowing that the company uses two-factor authentication to keep the sensitive information secured helps them trust you more. 
  3. It saves you money. No, I don’t mean that two-factor authentication can successfully replace all your support staff. But it can give them more time to work on their tasks instead of going from desk to desk and assisting with password resets. Additionally, data leaks are a PR tragedy that consumes not only money but also your reputation. Enabling two-factor authentication can help you avoid that.
  4. It increases productivity. Everything is going mobile now. Including the employees. Two-factor authentication allows them to work on their phones or home computers without compromising sensitive company data. It helps them to be more productive and flexible which by default increases their satisfaction.

We strongly recommend enabling your two-factor authentication setting for your Elastic Email account to ensure your data is safe and GDPR compliant. You can enable two-factor authentication with Elastic Email to protect your contacts and your emails from malicious attacks. Learn how to do it, in just a few simple steps.

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Anna Wybieralska

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