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Two-factor Authentication: How Can It Enhance the Security of Your Business

The number of cybercrimes is growing every year. While no one denies the fact, only 50% of businesses are using two-factor authentication to secure sensitive data.

If you belong to the group that didn't adopt the technology yet, you probably have your reasons for that. If one of those reasons is a lack of information, just continue reading and in a few minutes you will get answers to all main questions about 2FA. We are going to start with a definition and then pass over to the benefits of using two-factor authentication and finish with ways to implement it for your business.

What Is Two-factor Authentication

In simple words, two-factor authentication adds one more step of authorization when you enter a digital device or content. When allowing two-factor authentication, a user must input a password they remember along with the second factor to get verified by the system.

Here are a few examples of possible second factors

  • TOTP token, which is a temporary one-time password that is generated by the app pre-installed on the user's smartphone.

  • Some hardware security key such as YubiKey.

  • An SMS code, which is an option having the lowest level of security.

Let's say, if an intruder has a collection of stolen credentials for an account with activated 2FA, they are literally useless without a second identification device or cell phone, which are not that easy to get.

If you wonder where should you install 2FA, the answer is - pretty much everywhere. There is never too much of security, so it's advantageous for you to enable 2FA wherever possible. For instance: you can protect your Jira and Confluence access. With the right identity provider, you can easily do it.

In particular, cloud identity providers make it easy to enable 2FA on devices , servers, systems, software, apps, the ID console, and lots of other places in the IT setting. Let's consider more reasons to require 2FA everywhere.

Passwords Don't Provide the Strongest Protection

You can't feel absolutely safe when relying on passwords. They are not strong enough to protect your sensitive data, which is the main reason why we are talking about two-factor authentication now. Here are some whopping stats for you to understand the depth of the problem better:

"On average, organizations experience 12.2 incidents each month in which an unauthorized third-party exploits stolen account credentials to gain access to corporate data stored in a cloud service."

"These incidents affect 80.3% of organizations at least once a month. Additionally, 92% of companies have cloud credentials for sale on the Dark Web."

Source: skyhighnetworks.com

"91% of people understand the risk of reusing passwords but 61% still reuse them."

Source: lp-cdn.lastpass.com

"'123456' and 'password' are the two most popular passwords the fifth year in a row."

Source: welivesecurity.com

"81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords."

Source: enterprise.verizon.com

Looking at the above statistics we understand that passwords aimed to guard the privacy of your data and confidential company information fail as they do not comply with good security practices. When you are using solely passwords to protect your corporate assets, it's not a surprise when your credentials appear on the dark web.

Weak and stolen passwords are the most frequent reasons for data breaches. This information gives a solid ground for reasoning over risk mitigation solutions and implementing two-factor authentication as one of them.

Do you remember the example above? Let's cite it once again here. Supposing a hacker has found your company credentials on the dark web and is ready to buy them. It's just a waste of money as no one can access your 2FA enabled repository without the second factor, be it a smartphone with an authentication application or a YubiKey, in a word, some MFA device.

According to Symantec enterprise, you can prevent 81% of data breaches by allowing two-factor authentication.

Implementation of 2FA: How To

It's really easy to enable two-factor authentication for your company. In this section, we will suggest how to do it for Jira and Confluence apps as most of the development teams use these solutions to run and manage their projects, which surely involves file sharing and info distribution.

Actually, all you need to do to make access to sensitive data impossible to unauthorized people is to download a 2FA plugin for Jira and Confluence.

2FA plugin for Jira pairs a U2F device such as NitroKey and Yubico Yubikey with a mobile phone, which generates the key code. Actually, you can choose the second factor yourself and change it whenever you wish. A secure login process does not involve sharing any personal details.

You can install the app fast, just in two steps. Then you will manage it via a user-friendly interface. The application offers a useful back-up feature, plus you will get prompt customer support if you have any questions related to 2FA set up and usage.

Thanks to its flexibility in terms of second factor choice, the plugin also enhances security of external login and integrations.

You can introduce a selective approach to U2F devices. That is, you can supply particular Jira users or groups with those devices to protect the most sensitive information from phishing, session hijacking, and malware attacks.

Final Words

Hope this article was useful and informative and now you know what is two-factor authentication and why would you want to implement it to most if not all systems your company is using. If you are ready to start safeguarding your project data, start with applying 2FA plugins for Jira and Confluence moreover that the trial period won't cost you a cent.