Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where multi-factor authentication just wasn’t necessary? Where we could just turn on our laptops and get on with our day without the rigmarole of logging in?
Well yes, but with an estimated 1/5th of adults having had their personal emails and social accounts hacked at some point in the last year, that ship has well and truly sailed. The good news is, the days of the clunky password are numbered. It’s a method of security which has long been unfit for purpose. Not only are passwords difficult to remember, they’re easily overcome by a would-be hacker. That’s hardly a winning combination.
But security is slowly becoming second nature to even the most laggardly of technology adopters. Where security used to be the concern of the IT geek, we’re reaching a point where it’s becoming almost invisible to the non-technically minded. Our phones and our banking apps are now recognising thumbprints and swipe patterns, taking the difficulty out of password entry.
That’s great progress, and one that stands businesses in good stead: Our personal devices are crossing the boundary into our work lives on an increasing basis – BYOD is becoming the default mobile strategy for many businesses and folding users’ personal devices into corporate security policies is now a must. Phones in particular have become an extension of ourselves – they hold extensive personal information, from correspondence to contact numbers, and their use often dictates how we expect other software and hardware to behave.
I’m not pretending BYOD doesn’t pose its own challenges, but I do believe, by enabling users’ devices to become part of a security solution, adoption is made easier and security is strengthened. Multi-Factor Authentication needs to be intuitive to work well, and too often in the past it hasn’t been. But people are used to relying on their smartphones and they’re likely to be more comfortable with them than they are with an additional hardware device, enabling them to use their phone’s features – whether a simple text message, or more recent innovations such as NFC or biometrics, you can make the leap to Two-Factor Authentication in the office almost painlessly.