Cybersecurity secrets: how to keep hackers at bay

Cybersecurity secrets: how to keep hackers at bay

Looking for ways to help protect your business against cybercriminals? You’ve come to the right place.

Although the way technology’s evolving is great in many ways, we’re all becoming more vulnerable to cyberattacks. After all, cybercriminals are relentless and will take advantage of any sensitive information they can – from that found in emails to online spreadsheets; documents to financial records.

That’s why two-factor authentication exists.

You’re guaranteed to have come across this already, since email providers, banking apps and more include a second step during the log-in process – especially since strict verification requirements were put in place across Europe in 2020.

Why does two-factor authentication exist?

The truth is: passwords simply aren’t enough to keep data secure. Two-factor authentication does exactly what the name suggests – it asks you to go through two steps to log into your account.

The first step tends to be a password, but the second step can vary. On smartphones, sometimes it’s fingerprint or facial recognition. Other times it might be a security code. Or, on some occasions, you might be asked to enter answers to pre-set security questions.

Whatever you’re asked to do, the aim is to help prevent fraud online in an easy, accessible way; making hacking into your accounts twice as tricky.

Why’s it important for you to think about from a business perspective?

Better security for your business’ information – not to mention your customer and employee data – is the first reason why. It goes further than this, though.

Two-factor authentication can also help reduce security management by scaling back the need for constant password resets. Not to mention reducing the risk of having your reputation damaged due to a data breach.

So, which type of authentication should your team be using?

There are a few different options to explore.

When it comes to adding an extra layer of protection to your business, using an authenticator app might be best. Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator are two of the most popular solutions – and can be linked directly to online accounts (like your email). Once set up, a code is generated on the app, helping to keep business data safe at the click of a button.

Alternatively, if you don’t want your team to download an app, ‘token codes’ are another popular choice. As a one-off code that’s sent to a pre-set email or phone number, this approach is often considered the simplest to use.

If your business needs a higher level of security, though, it would be worth exploring physical security keys. Often used by banks, physical keys are considered the strongest security option. A quick online search will show you that these keys are relatively cheap, but if you choose this option you need to think about a backup plan, in case a team member loses their key.

Is there anything you can do to protect customers too?

Here’s where ‘Strong Customer Authentication’ comes into play. As a new part of European regulation for electronic payments, this adds the second step of two-factor authentication to an online checkout – all to help make money transfers even more secure.

The problem many businesses fear with this is that the added complexity of the check-out process can make customers abandon their shopping basket before paying. We don't believe this is anything to be concerned about however, as customers are so used to this now, but with cybercriminals finding new ways to get around security every day, it’s a smart choice to add more layers of security when you can.

One way you can balance out this extra check-out step is to make sure you offer a variety of payment methods. From PayPal to Apple Pay, giving customers an easier way to pay will help make up for the extra security step.

Secure your business' future

Whether you’re just getting started or are well-established, you need to take every step to help make sure your business, customers, and team are protected from cybercriminals. A good way to start securing sensitive information is two-factor authentication. All that's left to ask is, which option will you go for?

Looking for more tips on business security? Check out our article: Five internal security threats your business needs to know about.

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