What Is Two-Factor Authentication? And How Does It Help Secure Your Business?

Online security is more important than ever these days, as more businesses rely on cloud-based services for everything from point-of-sale to email, banking and accounting.

Strong passwords are critical here. (If you have something obvious like “password 1234,” it’s time to change it.) But it’s also a smart idea to enable two-factor authentication on your accounts.

Two-factor authentication adds a layer of security on top of your password to help prevent unauthorised activity.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA or multi-factor authentication) requires you to confirm ownership of two separate variables — your password and something else (usually a unique code) — to complete sensitive actions on your account.

Because the codes are different for every single request, two-factor authentication makes it a lot more difficult to hack your accounts (as it’s likely that only you have access to your email or mobile device).

Why is two-factor authentication good for my business?

At Square, two-factor authentication is required for your most sensitive account changes. For example, when you link a new bank account or reset your password, you are first prompted to log in with your username and password and then required to verify your identity with a code from an authenticator app (such as Google Authenticator) to complete the action. This level of personalised authentication helps to secure your most valuable business details and information.

How do you enable two-factor authentication?

You can opt to enable two-factor authentication in the settings or security sections of most online services (like Gmail or Apple). In addition to the two pieces of information needed to make sensitive changes to your account, Square’s POS system also allows you to enrol in 2-Step Verification.

With this feature enabled, each time you login to your Square Dashboard you’re prompted to enter your credentials (username and password) as well as a unique verification code from your authenticator app.

How to set up 2-Step Verification for your Square account:

  1. Sign in to your Square Dashboard and go to Account & Settings.
  2. In Personal Information, click the Activate 2-Step Verification button.
  3. Choose whether or not you want to require employees to use 2-Step Verification, and click Next Step.
  4. Choose Authentication App.
  5. Scan the barcode with your authentication app, and click Next Step. Enter the verification code from your app in the prompted field. Click Verify to complete.
  6. If you don’t want to enter a verification code every time you access your Dashboard, check ‘Remember this device for 30 days’ in the Enter Verification Code prompt the next time you sign in.

You can also learn more about our approach to security at Square.