The VAR Guy Blog

Help Your Customers Prevent Data Disasters With Two-Factor Authentication

As a solution provider, you may find your customers weighing the tradeoff between strengthening security and potentially losing their own customers, or keeping access easy and risking a breach.

Regular news of massive data breaches makes both organizations and individuals anxious. Yet because authentication solutions interrupt the user experience and tend to be expensive, companies often still hesitate to implement strong security for consumer-facing websites and mobile apps.

As a solution provider, you may find your customers weighing the tradeoff between strengthening security and potentially losing their own customers, or keeping access easy and risking a breach. We’ve seen countless cases of businesses choosing, and consumers demanding, the latter course of action. The result: damage to some of the largest brands in the world and a loss of consumer confidence that those brands can effectively and safely manage consumers’ data.

Fortunately, you can offer your customers two-factor authentication (2FA) from Symantec that’s not only secure but flexible and easy to use. Symantec’s Validation and ID Protection Service, VIP, is a cloud-based solution that integrates with almost any existing environment. It provides a customer-friendly experience, works for both internal and remote employees, and was designed with mobile platforms in mind. The service supports one-time passwords with credentials ranging from hardware tokens to free mobile-based software credentials, so users are not slowed down during log-in. What’s more, all data files are stored in Symantec’s military-grade data center, not on premise, saving IT departments the added burden of securing and maintaining authentication servers.

In my channel sales role at Symantec, I spend time educating partners on how to best support customers whose primary concern is to minimize risk. Many organizations are looking for a second level of security, like requiring a fingerprint or security code upon login, or protection in a mobile environment other than a password. To help guide customer conversations about Symantec’s VIP, here are a few additional advantages you can highlight:

  1. It’s simple and cost-effective to implement. Because VIP is a cloud-based service, your customers don’t have to invest in additional hardware, software or other infrastructure components to deploy it. Implementation is quick and easy.
  2. It’s easy to use. Risk-based VIP Intelligent Authentication provides a simplified experience, while VIP Push and biometrics offer a one-touch or password-free experience.
  3. It scales as needed. VIP meets the needs of any customer, from small and medium-sized businesses to large enterprises and government organizations.
  4. It integrates with existing infrastructure. VIP adheres to industry standards and open APIs in a cloud environment.

For real-world examples and more information about two-factor authentication from Symantec, read our whitepaper on securing your customers online. Also be sure to check in with your Symantec partner representative if you have questions about the company’s VIP services.

Stephen Thomas is vice president of Americas Channel Sales at Symantec and can be followed on Twitter @stephen__thomas. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Hitoshi Anatomi (not verified)
on Aug 10, 2015

It should be noted that the two-factor authentication could help for better security PROVIDED it does not involve biometrics.

Threats that can be thwarted by biometric products operated together with fallback/backup passwords can be thwarted more securely by passwords alone. We could be certain that biometrics would help for better security only when it is operated together with another factor by AND/Conjunction (we need to go through both of the two), not when operated with another factor by OR/Disjunction (we need only to go through either one of the two) as in the cases of Touch ID and many other biometric products on the market that require a backup/fallback password, which only increase the convenience by bringing down the security.

In short, biometric solutions could be recommended to the people who want convenience but should not be recommended to those who need security.

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