Article

Matthew Winters
Matthew Winters 24 March 2017
Categories B2B, Mobile, Technology

SMS 2FA: Still meeting the needs of Enterprise Mobile Messaging Procurement

As SMS 2FA is cost-effective, easy to deploy and available to billions of mobile phone users around the world, it is quickly becoming the de-facto technology for businesses to replace weak user ID and password authentication solutions.

The Mobile Ecosystem Forum launched its new report on Enterprise Mobile Messaging Guide this month. This guide has been developed with input from mobile industry programme leaders such as the team here at Veoo, Telefonica, Vodafone as well as a whole host of others. One of the key features of the report is to recognise the risks of buying solutions which make use of unauthorised connections, as well as educating readers so that organisations can make informed decisions and choose the right solutions for their business.

One of the key sections within the report was about understanding the importance of two-factor authentication or 2FA when procuring the right solution. For years, two-factor authentication (2FA) was regarded as an essential weapon in the fight against online fraud. The success of two-factor authentication (2FA) is that it provides an information security process in which two means of identification are combined to increase the probability that an entity, commonly a smart phone user, is the valid holder of that identity. 2FA requires the use of two reliable authentication factors. First, something the user knows, e.g. a password or a PIN and something the user owns, e.g. a mobile phone. Essentially with 2FA enabled, you’ll be required to enter an authentication code – sent to you via text message – in addition to your email address and password. Therefore, even if a hacker managed to steal your login details, they wouldn’t be able to get into your account without that code. 

But last year, headlines appeared to question the validity of SMS 2FA, suggesting that it had now become outdated. Like most good inventions and practices, 2FA has its challenges and loopholes. Professional and personal lives are increasingly becoming digital; for example we execute the majority of our banking transactions online and use various forms of online messaging to engage in conversations with our loved ones. Our personalities have moved almost completely online through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. We are operating through global delivery models with teams distributed remotely across the world, working and collaborating online. Each of these activities, in turn, generate loads and loads of confidential data, many of which could have serious implications in the hands of the wrong people. Hence, mobile based 2FA is susceptible to failure when the security of the mobile service provider is breached, or when malware on the user’s phones intercept the authenticating SMS messages and send them to the hacker.

But, whilst industry experts proclaim a whole host of issues such as, being susceptible to attackers due to high-value applications using it or, the lack of broad solution in all businesses cases, most of these issues have been greatly exaggerated. It is important to understand your users and the security threats they face is the key to a successful two-factor authentication deployment.

SMS 2FA offers many benefits such as easy deployment and management with provisioning taking a fraction of the time of regular hardware-based 2FA solutions. The solution is ubiquitous, in that, it is available for all mobile phones, not just smart phones. In an age where users are bringing in their own mobile devices into the workplace and using consumer cloud-based services for business purposes, end-user choice is vital. Veoo has Two-Factor Authentication that can be quickly integrated with existing websites, apps and services to facilitate fast, secure, and effective customer authentication confirming customers’ identity. As SMS 2FA is cost-effective, easy to deploy and available to billions of mobile phone users around the world, it is quickly becoming the de-facto technology for businesses to replace weak user ID and password authentication solutions. Just this week, platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram introduced it to the latest versions of their apps.

SMS two-factor authentication is still meeting the needs of modern IT functions that require agile, cost-effective and easy to deploy and manage solutions. The market for SMS 2FA will continue to grow and it has become an important factor in enterprise messaging procurement and it will continue to be the dominant force in two-factor authentication.

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