What is 2 Factor Authentication and Why You Should Use It?

Published on 29 March 2022

In recent years you may have noticed many companies, service providers and apps asking you to set up 2 Factor Authentication. This is to increase your IT Security against cybercriminals gaining access to your accounts.

Passwords are not enough; they have historically been a weak point in cyber security and IT security. This is largely due to two reasons:

  1. Cybercriminals are always looking for and trying to crack passwords
  2. Most people use simple, easy to remember passwords; often across multiple accounts. For example, 23 million accounts use ‘123456’ as their password. 

81% of security breaches are the result of weak or stolen passwords, so to combat this weakness and the rise in IT security breaches, many organisations are opting for 2-factor authentication. 

What is 2 Factor Authentication?

2 Factor Authentication or 2FA (also known as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)) is an added layer of protection you can add to an account when you are logging in. This normally involves receiving an authentication code via text or email (more on this later) that you enter before being able to access your account.

Enabling 2FA does not mean that every time you log in you will be asked to enter a code. Generally, it will be when you login from an unknown or new device, as well as periodically from time to time for added cyber security.

How Does 2FA Make My Accounts More Cyber Secure?

In 2019 a report from Microsoft found that using 2FA blocks 99.9% of automated attacks. By adding 2FA to all your accounts you make it harder for cyber criminals to access your data. The only way they could access an account with 2FA would be if they had both your password and authentication code. This code is randomly generated and sent to your chosen device which a cybercriminal does not have access to, therefore cannot gain access to your account.

Multi-factor authentication

What are the Different Types of 2 Factor Authentication?

There are several ways you can use 2FA, here are the most common ones:

  • SMS or Email:
    • You will receive a code to enter before accessing your account via email or text.
  • Via an App like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator:
    • The app will provide you with a code you need to enter before the timer runs out. Once it runs out it will generate a new code.
  •  Fingerprint or face scan:
    • Your face or fingerprint will act as the authorisation code, rather than one sent for you to enter.
  • Trusted Device:
    • Namely, for Apple devices, you can assign a device to be trusted, meaning it will receive the authorisation codes for you to enter.


2FA is an excellent added layer of IT security for your accounts. It is simple and quick to set up and greatly increases the cyber security on your accounts, keeping your data safe.

We are living in a world where long, difficult passwords are not enough. Cybercriminals can use tactics like phishing to get you to unknowingly reveal your password and grant them access to your data. 2FA can prevent this, by requiring an authorisation code to be entered when your account is accessed from an unknown device or suspicious location.

If you are interested in learning more about 2FA and how you can improve your IT security, book a meeting with us below, or call now on 01908 044 202.

Multi-factor authentication

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