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What is Two Factor Authentication (2FA)?
Two factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is a process which requires two steps in order to verify a user. Rather than just asking for a single piece of information – such as a password — two factor authentication goes a step further to enhance the level of security within the system.
Depending on the application, the second factor to be used could be something like a fingerprint scan, or it could be a security token. Whatever the case, employing two factor authentication solutions is a step organizations can take to improve their resistance to intrusions into their systems and data theft.
Multiple Ways to Authenticate
When two factor authentication is used, it should be designed in such a way that it will serve the needs of the organization conveniently and sufficiently.
Specifically, the selection of the second type of authentication is an important choice. Blending something that a user knows, like a password, with something that the user possesses, like a smartphone, can be a good way to enhance security.
If even more security is required, an organization may choose to move up to multi factor authentication, where even more factors will be put into use.
Diversity of Two Factor Authenticators
It is important to note that two factor authentication isn’t really in place if both factors are of the same type. So, demanding a user to scan an ID card and also scan their smartphone is not considered two factor authentication, as those are both factors which are based on possession.
It is the blending of two different types of factors, like possession and knowledge, that is going to truly put two factor security in place.