UK businesses are 'slow' to adopt multi-factor authentication

Image of two-factor authentication in action

Password security within businesses is not evolving quickly enough, according to a new study, with nearly two-thirds of organisations admitting that they have still not implemented two-factor authentication.

An overwhelming number of UK companies are concerned that staff are re-using personal credentials for work accounts, raising the spectre of password re-use hacks, while 65% are uncomfortable with employees using their social media credentials to access corporate resources.

But 70% of 1,050 IT and business decision makers surveyed by Gemalto believe that consumer-grade authentication could be applied in the workplace, with over half of IT leaders saying that their own authentication methods suffer in comparison to those of Amazon and Facebook.

Gemalto's 2018 Authentication and Identity Management Index report found that adoption of two-factor authentication is increasing, with 76% of UK businesses expect to begin using a secondary identification check - such as a code sent to a mobile phone number - within two years, up from 66% in 2016. Just a third of staff are required to use it at the moment, according to Gemalto's report.

Joe Pindar, Gemalto's director of product strategy, said that many firms are simply failing to implement the necessary security tools to keep themselves safe from hackers.

"This is emphasised by the slow adoption of protection such as two-factor authentication - although adoption is increasing and the majority plan to introduce this within the next two years, talk is cheap and not enough is being done quickly enough," he claimed.

With GDPR just a few months away, organisations need to move faster to address any security risks in applications they use, he added, especially those with access to people's personal data.

"If they lack the expertise to do this, they must look to employ a third party to assist this process. Simply doing nothing is not an option for businesses any longer and actions speak louder than words," he said.

Picture: Bigstock

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.