Professional service firms are slowly but surely migrating more of their applications to cloud based applications. One of the major concerns (rightly so) of moving to the cloud has been issues of data security. If you are a Gmail or Google Apps user, then you will want to take a look at using their 2-step verification process.
Two-step verification provides extra security for your data by employing a similar strategy that is used by banks at ATM machines. In order to gain access, you need a combination of something you know and something you have. The something you know is your password. The something you have is your smart phone – which you use to obtain a verification code that you use during the login process. You don’t have to use the verification code each time you login, you can indicate when you’re using a computer you trust and don’t want to be asked for a verification code from that machine in the future.
How to set up 2-step verification:
The first thing you need to do is have your Admin change the settings to allow users to use two-step verification. Sometimes, the hardest part about getting started is finding the right place to start. From your Domain Settings, select Advanced Tools and then you should see the Authentication section (see below)
Once this is done, you as a user can decide whether or not you want to use two-step verification. To set it up, click on Settings | Accounts and then click on the Google Account Settings link.
From there, you will be able to access the Using 2-step verification link
Which will launch the 2-Step verification setup wizard.
Set up your phone.
This step will vary a little based on the model of your smart phone but here is the basic idea – you install a free app from Google that knows how to generate verification codes. These verification codes are what you will enter when completing step 2 of the 2 step verification process – so if you won’t have a phone nearby when you sign in, you shouldn’t use 2-step verification.
What happens if you don’t have your phone with you or you lose it? During the setup procedure, you will be provided with a set of backup verification codes. Print these codes and keep them in a safe place – one you will remember 6 months from now when you need them <g>.
If you have other application that integrate with Google (if you use Google Apps, chances are you do) those applications may not be set up for 2 step verification. For that reason, Google will help you generate passwords for different applications and\or devices that you use to access your data.
Confirm your settings and turn on 2-step verification.
Once you have completed all of the set up steps you will see this dialog to save and turn on the 2-Step verification
The next time you login, after you enter your user name and password, you will see the following screen.
Check your smart phone application and key the verification code that you see into the box and click Verify. You are now set up with 2-step verification.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant