Want to keep your financial data safe? Then, two-factor authentication (2FA) should be non-negotiable. If you don’t currently use 2FA to access your financial systems, you could be putting your financial data at risk. This guide shows you why and how to implement 2FA.
Have you ever used the password “123456”? No? How about “password”? No? Good to hear (and expected as a finance professional). But unfortunately, this might not be true for a few of your colleagues.
According to research from SafetyDetectives (looking at 9,056,593 passwords), the most commonly globally-used passwords are:
Yep, you read this right.
Cybersecurity risks are increasing. As more and more businesses are going digital, companies have better access to real-time spend info, and easier ways to move money, and more. So far, so good. But companies (and the industry) must also make sure that their — and their customers' — finances are safe by employing every cybersecurity tool in the box.
From June 2022 to June 2023, 640 cybersecurity threats were reported by UK financial services firms to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), an increase of 240% from the previous year. With threats to data rising so rapidly and constantly, fintechs and software companies can't afford to let their guard down.
Two-factor authentication is an effective way to protect customer data by adding an extra layer of security instead of relying on just a password. This extra layer of protection makes it more difficult for threat actors to access sensitive information.
In this guide, we explore the importance of 2FA authentication, how it works, the different types, and best practices for implementation.
2FA is a login process requiring two different authentication types before letting the user into the system. These two forms of identity verification are usually a password or a PIN, followed by a code from an authentication app or text message.
Introducing these two steps makes it much easier for financial institutions to keep their data safe and secure and prevent data breaches. The main benefit of this approach is that if the password is compromised, the threat actor still won’t be able to access the system without getting the second form of authentication from the authenticator app.
What about 2FA in the wild? It’s big. Companies are adopting multi-factor authentication much more frequently to protect sensitive information. In fact, the use of MFA has increased by 51% from 2017 to 2021, and it's projected to have a $20 billion market share by 2025.
Conclusion: If you don’t require 2FA to access your financial data, you should implement it now.
By implementing 2FA, you will significantly improve your system security. According to Microsoft, multi-factor authentication can block more than 99.9% of account compromise attacks.
Key Takeaway: 2FA technology significantly decreases both the possibility of unauthorized account access and helps safeguard info in case of a breach. For these reasons, you should implement 2FA for all users accessing your financial systems.
Here are the most common types of 2FA:
Although not foolproof, SMS codes are a quick and easy way to access one-time passcodes. A word of warning: Although generating SMS codes is better than just relying on a single password, there is a possibility that a threat actor can intercept these messages or perform an attack called SIM Swapping.
Apps like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator are free for users to download and immediately provide a secure way to generate time-based one-time passwords or TOTPs. After typing in their password, the user usually scans a QR code on the site they’re trying to access, generating a one-time access code. These apps are a more secure way to implement 2FA than SMS codes.
A FIDO security key is a physical device that protects your authentication and acts as an additional physical security layer besides your password. Although relatively inexpensive, you must pay for these keys; the more users you need to purchase, the more costs will stack up. Although they’re an excellent security measure if a user loses the key, locking them out of the associated account will still create an unnecessary hassle (and losing these small things is quite easy)
Apart from making you feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie, biometrics technology has some fantastic security benefits. The rise of biometrics in software development is exciting and provides users with a unique way of quickly accessing systems. Biometrics uses fingerprint scanning and facial recognition technologies to provide a more personal layer of security for each user account. Check with your finance software provider; not all solutions support this technology.
All financial institutions should prioritize strong authentication, protecting corporate funds and customer data.
Implementing reliable and robust 2FA on financial systems should be a non-negotiable security practice. Without it, you’re leaving user data vulnerable and opening them up to potentially costly security incidents.
Implementation matters. When it comes to security implementation practices, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
At Payhawk, we take security seriously.
We’re committed to delivering an accessible financial system for business expense management while ensuring your sensitive data and information are as secure and protected as possible against cyber threats.
Any access to platform servers and management systems requires the user to undergo 2FA (including biometric authentication for accessing our Payhawk mobile app).
Moreover, we have all the required security certifications and ‘Threat-proof’ encryption technology governing all transactions.
What other security measures do we implement?
Additionally, we carry out sporadic stress tests to check if the owner of the user ID still works for your company in the same capacity.
Read more about our security certifications here.
Yes, cybercriminals pose an increasing threat. However, protecting your data with 2FA can significantly reduce these threats and is especially easy to implement, providing you pick the right software solutions.
By increasing the complexity of your system sign-in requirements, you can say goodbye to reusable credentials and imminent cyber-attacks and instead embrace quick and simple multi-factor authentication for effortless data protection.
Schedule a demo to learn more about our secure time-saving solution.
Trish Toovey works across the UK and US markets to craft content at Payhawk. Covering anything from ad copy to video scripting, Trish leans on a super varied background in copy and content creation for the finance, fashion, and travel industries.