In an era when standard password protection no longer seems like a foolproof method for securing the likes of bank account information and private photos stored on mobile devices and the cloud, one tech company is betting on two-factor authentication to be the norm in keeping sensitive information safe. Authy, a San Francisco-based security startup, is hoping that its free mobile app will be at the forefront of a post-password world. The company’s app generates a “token,” or a constantly changing number that is needed to sign on to sites and accounts that users want to keep secure after they enter a standard password. While certainly not used universally, Authy’s approach to security protection is gaining momentum. Right now, the app has over 1 million users.
For Marc Boroditsky, the company’s president and COO, Authy’s services are becoming more widely accepted at a time when users are becoming increasingly cautious about their online data. Authy provides secure cloud-encrypted backups and works with accounts popular with users like Facebook, Dropbox, and Gmail.
“The critical thing for us is making [the app] as simple as possible,” Boroditsky told FoxNews.com. “We are constantly improving and refining the app, which I think sets us apart from the more traditional user security experience. This gives us confidence.”
Boroditsky, a former advisor to Authy, stepped into his new leadership role back in September when the company announced that it completed a very successful $3 million fundraising round. This level of growth paves the way for the company’s ambitions to be the go-to service for midsize businesses that do not necessarily have their own custom-made security systems in place. Boroditsky added that he envisions Authy becoming a leading player in safeguarding data tied to financial and healthcare services, as well as the ever-growing wearable tech industry.
“In the early part of next year, we plan on adding capabilities that financial and health care companies are looking for,” Boroditsky said. “Companies in these markets want a greater degree of assuredness that their transactions are being protected.”
While Authy might face stiff competition from companies like Google – which does provide a two-factor authentication system of its own — prominent investors like Cameron Winklevoss found supporting the security company to be a no-brainer.
“I was first a user of Authy and then became an investor based on my positive experience,” Winklevoss, co-founder of Winklevoss Capital, wrote in an email to FoxNews.com. “Security is about striking the right balance between ease and use and peace of mind. Authy achieves this balance in an elegant way making it the leader in this space.”
Becoming a leader in the online security space involves the tricky act of reorienting users long accustomed to standard password protection to a new method of securing their online accounts. Borditsky suggested that Authy, and other players in the two-factor authentication field, will have to “educate” users on why single-password systems are not the most effective way to protect information.
“You’ll be seeing in our own market in the coming months more and more user education. A number of our major distribution partners will make users more and more aware of how the process works,” Boroditsky said. “In the end, it is all about making the user more comfortable. Once there’s broader consumer recognition, it is easier for us to introduce a broader change in how people secure themselves.”
Winklevoss envisions this shift as just a natural progression to something that will just be ubiquitous in users’ daily lives.
“When seat belts were first invented, it took time before there was widespread adoption,” Winklevoss wrote. “Eventually the facts became too hard to ignore and awareness spreads to the point whereby users don’t just accept it, they demand it.”
Boroditsky envisions everyone from health care leaders to gamers finding the standard password system antiquated.
Winklevoss added that, in a cloud-centric world, making a shift in how users secure their information is inevitable.
“Security can no longer be an afterthought,” Winklevoss wrote. “Whether you are trying to secure your iCloud photos or bitcoins, the small upfront cost associated with [two-factor authentication] is completely worthwhile and will become routine in the long-run.”