Being small doesn’t make you invisible. According to a reputed cybersecurity report, 28% of data breaches in 2020 involved small businesses. Why are small businesses becoming hackers’ new favorite?
Small businesses have more data than individuals but weaker security than big companies. So they are hackers’ new favorite.
Being a small business owner, you should ensure that only the authorized people are accessing your business’s resources.
That being said, you should deploy a reliable authentication method to eliminate the chances of any unauthorized access.
What Is an Online Authentication Process?
Authentication is the process that confirms the identity of users/machines that are trying to access resources (systems, networks, or devices).
You should not confuse authentication with another security term – authorization.
Authentication confirms the identity of a person/machine. And authorization verifies that the person/ machine has the right/permission to access the resource in question.
So you can see that authentication happens first, then comes authorization.
Types of Online Authentication Methods
Small businesses have multiple types of authentication methods at their disposal to keep their data safe.
Here are some common authentication methods:
1. Passwords and Security Questions
Many businesses use passwords and security questions to secure access. But passwords and security questions don’t offer optimum security.
There is no doubt that you can create strong passwords using a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters.
However, passwords are prone to phishing attacks. And many a time, hackers can easily guess the answers to security questions.
Also, it can be difficult for users to remember the password for each account. This is because users these days have multiple accounts.
In nutshell, passwords and security questions offer very week security.
2. Out of Band Voice
In this authentication method, users will receive a call on his registered mobile number to get verified. This method is more secure than a password, but users need to carry a second device to get their identity verified.
The main drawback of this method is that hackers can intercept verification calls. Also, you may lose your phone device.
3. Time-based One-time Passwords
In this method, users receive a one-time pass key through SMS or email. As the pass key expires after a short period of time, this method offers fair security.
However, the time-based one-time password method is vulnerable to malware attacks and sim hijacking.
4. Biometric Authentication
The biometric authentication method leverages users’ unique biological characteristics to verify their identity.
Here are common biometric authentication methods:
- Facial recognition
- Fingerprint scanners
- Voice identification
- Eye scanners
It goes without saying that the biometric authentication method is a safe way to protect devices and data. But if the data is compromised, the biometric authentication system will collapse. This is because people cannot change their unique biological characteristics.
5. Multi-factor Authentication
As the name suggests, the multi-factor authentication method (MFA) employs two or more independent ways to verify users’ identity. For example, users may need to submit passwords and one-time codes to get them identified.
The multi-factor authentication method is a good way to secure resources. If users lose access to the second verification method, they will not be able to get them identified.
6. Certificate-based Authentication
In this authentication method, a digital certificate is employed to verify a user, machine, or device.
Most certificate-based solutions now leverage a cloud-based platform. So small businesses can easily issue certificates to new employees, renew certificates, or revoke certificates.
Some authentication methods such as passwords, biometric, one-time passwords are limited to users only.
However, certificate-based solutions can be used by all ends points – users, devices, or machines.
Certificate-based authentication employs multiple criteria like geolocation, biometrics, user identity, and more to verify a user. So it is the safest authentication method among all.
Have a look:
Image: Beyond Identity