7 October 2015

Two-factor authentication SMS for peace of mind

Smartphones have become an essential tool among today’s business professionals. SMS in particular is now one of the most popular ways we communicate with one another, and online web browsing is close to overtaking desktop as the preferred medium of choice.

This naturally has given rise to concerns surrounding the security of online information and, more specifically, the ability to properly identify individuals accessing bank, email or other personal online accounts from remote locations. This is where the value of MessageMedia’s two-factor authentication (2FA) feature comes to the fore: an additional layer of security for a wide variety of online transactions requiring proper identification of the individuals involved.

Using tried and tested 2FA technology, MessageMedia makes use of tokens and one-time passwords (OTP) to maintain the integrity of your networks and protect against unauthorised access by unknown users.

One-time password SMS: Secure and instantaneous identification

As a customer you’ve likely been in the situation where you’ve just arranged a payment from your online bank account to a new biller. To complete the transaction your bank must confirm your ID before the payment can be processed, so they send an automatic SMS to your smartphone with a unique number you need to enter in order to proceed.

This is a common example of the use of an OTP, which is a unique combination of numbers or letter that can only be sent once to a particular mobile phone number, and is valid for only one log-in session or transaction.

What’s even better is that MessageMedia can integrate our OTP feature into your existing 2FA solution. Therefore users without a smartphone can still receive OTPs which allow them to proceed with important online transactions. OTPs of this kind don’t require any additional hardware or downloads from the user, just the ability to receive a simple SMS message.

The benefits of 2FA and OTP: Inexpensive and immediate

The benefits of 2FA and, in particular, OTP are many, and are ideally suited to the contemporary business and consumer environment which requires instant, responsive communication.

The key benefit of 2FA is the fact that any mobile phone with text message capability (virtually every phone nowadays) can receive an OTP instantaneously once requested, independent of device and operating system. Due to the exclusively text-based nature of OTP, this platform is also very inexpensive to implement and utilise, with the cost of a single OTP message virtually negligible. It is also compatible with a variety of applications, such as VPNs, customised web portals and Citrix, among others.

Most importantly, 2FA provides superior security benefits in terms of verifying the identity of individuals logging in to a particular online account from a remote location or attempting to conduct an online transaction, as each OTP message is unique, limited to only one log-in, and usually time limited as well.

  • 2FA can work with any SMS-enabled mobile phone (virtually every model nowadays)
  • Device and OS independent
  • Inexpensive to implement and use, with the cost of a single OTP message negligible
  • Minimal ongoing administration
  • Provides superior security benefits, such as unique, time-limited OTPs

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