Ultimate Guide to Two-Factor Authentication Solutions
Two-factor authentication solutions have so much promise for truly securing the internet experience, yet they’ve been slow to be adopted. This article tells you the whole story of two-factor, and it’ll show you all of the options available plus the best ones to use so your customers will be happy.
Two-factor authentication solutions are much safer than any single-factor login methods. A Verizon cybersecurity study has found that 81% of all hacking activities start via stolen or weak passwords.
That’s huge! Two-factor is an essential way to strengthen the login process. So why hasn’t it completely dominated the internet yet? Why doesn’t every site and app require two-factor authentication?
Because current two-factor authentication solutions are a pain. They’re annoying and intrusive. They drive away users and make the login experience terrible.
Good luck growing your user base when it’s a hassle just to log into your site! The internet is an enormous place, so why would anyone bother? Think of it this way:
- No one likes having to remember a password, let alone remember their password and then deal with an extra step after typing it in.
- No one really wants to share their personal phone number with some random website, even for security purposes.
- Common two-factor solutions can get really expensive for sites to use. $.75 per text message adds up fast!
It’s clear now that users are only really willing to jump through hoops when they have something important at stake, like managing their finances with an online bank portal.
Swoop’s login tool is the only option available today that’s convenient, cost-effective, and ultra-secure, but you’re going to need some additional context before making any decisions. Let’s walk through some common questions and things to consider:
- What are two-factor authentication solutions?
- What’s the purpose of two-factor authentication?
- What are the benefits of two-factor authentication solutions?
Let’s get started improving your website or application.
What are two-factor authentication solutions?
To start off, let’s cover a basic definition of two-factor authentication:
A website authentication method that requires you to provide at least two out of three validating elements:
- Something you have, like a smartphone
- Something you know, like a password
- Something you are, like your fingerprint
Any combination of these elements creates a two-factor authentication solution, although some combinations are definitely more common than others. There are three main types of two-factor authentication solutions, some of which you’ve probably encountered before.
1. Mobile phone-based two-factor authentication solutions
- What you have: Access to your mobile phone.
- What you know: Your login credentials, email and password.
This method requires users to enter their password and then request a one-time security code be texted to their mobile phone. When they enter that code, they’re fully authenticated.
2. Two-factor authenticator apps
- What you have: Access to your account on a mobile authenticator app.
- What you know: Your login credentials, email and password.
With this two-factor authentication solution, your website or app partners with a third-party authenticator service. Your users will need to have an account with that service and download their mobile app, which will generate one-time security codes when requested.
This clunky solution makes it harder to log in than it makes it secure.
3. Email-based security keys – Swoop
- What you have: Access to your email account.
- What you know: Your email address.
Swoop is a passwordless, email-based authentication solution. It’s the most efficient and secure two-factor authentication solution available because it’s secure, cost-effective, and easy to use.
When implemented into a two-factor system, Swoop uses token-based techniques to essentially create a brand new ultra-secure password every time a user logs in. Then, the codes are processed automatically. No need to bother the user with manual entry tasks that slow everything down.
Explore our how it works page to learn more about the process.
Swoop fits into any possible combination of security factors to offer a more seamless user experience. But the best combination of factors has to be the magic login button + a Swoop PIN. It’s a game-changing way to authenticate users in a secure two-step process without asking them to lift a finger.
Explore our next guide on how two-factor authentication works for more details on each type listed above. Plus, we’ll cover extra examples of how Swoop login buttons and PINs can completely change how you handle login.
What’s the purpose of two-factor authentication?
Now, we’ll walk through the purpose and logic behind two-factor authentication solutions.
Traditional, single-factor systems (like a basic username/password combo) are very weak. They’re probably the worst way to protect anything online these days. This is due to a few reasons:
- A single layer of protection is always a weak option.
- Hacking techniques have become extremely advanced over the years, and basic login tech hasn’t kept up well.
- Huge data breaches consistently lose tons of passwords to hackers.
- Forcing users to create passwords leads to weaker passwords, as users will re-use old ones for convenience.
You probably use just a handful of different passwords (or maybe even just one!) for multiple different online accounts, right? Chronic, human-made weaknesses like these are all over the internet. There’s no reason it has to be that way.
Two-factor authentication solutions address this major security weakness.
The main idea is, of course, to add an extra layer of security to the login process.
Plus, when combined with SSO methods and/or token-based authentication tools, two-factor processes are extremely effective. They secure the user’s data and improve the user experience by reducing the need for them to continually log back in.
Removing traditional password-based login methods, in particular, is a great way to improve the user experience and grow your business.
Imagine a store that forced you to recite a secret code every time you wanted to come in and look around. Sure, it makes it less likely that anything will get stolen. It also drives away plenty of visitors who don’t appreciate the hassle.
Maybe speakeasies and underground clubs thrive on those types of business models, but your own site, app, or business doesn’t. The internet today is about accessibility and visibility, not exclusivity and secrecy.
Two-factor authentication solutions, designed to improve the user experience, are how we get there. Plus, some methods (like Swoop) are extremely easy to implement in under an hour. Sites that use Swoop have reported that removing their previous two-factor system was actually the hardest part of the implementation.
What are the benefits of two-factor authentication solutions?
We’ve already covered a few of the main benefits of implementing two-factor authentication solutions across this article. They fall into two main categories: improved security and improved user experience.
- An extra layer of security to validate the identity of users and protect against fraud or hackers
- Reduced need for users to log back in (when used with SSO and token-based methods)
- Elimination of passwords altogether (with Swoop)
Improved User Experience
- Reduced need for users to log back in
- Faster, safer, and simpler login (with Swoop)
Just remember, avoid two-factor authentication solutions that seriously slow down the login process or cost you a ton of money in the long run. They’re not worth the damage they inflict. Refer to our next guide to learn more about the different types of two-factor.
With the right two-factor authentication solutions in place, you’ll be able to grow your audience much easier. That’s simply because your login process will make it safer and easier for new users to interact with your site or app.
There’s no excuse to create your own perfect two-factor authentication solution when tools like Swoop are out there. We offer the most secure, most user-friendly, and most innovative authentication process on the web. Improved security should never hurt the user’s experience.
But no matter what kind of tools you decide to use, the most important thing to remember is that security is no joke! It’s easy to get burned without even realizing you were missing protection.
Thankfully, there are more advanced and flexible ways to protect your site or business today. You just have to make sure you’re finding a solution with more long-term benefits than drawbacks.
This post was written by John Killoran