Google Apps admins can now enforce use of two-step log-in process

Two-step verification lowers the risk of account hijacking by requiring users enter both a password and a code sent to their phones

Two-step verification, which adds a second layer of security to a log-in process, has been available since 2010 in Google Apps, but now IT administrators will be able to enforce it for all their users as a requirement.

A new setting in the Google Apps management console lets IT administrators make mandatory that end users log in via the suite's two-step method, which asks them not only for their password but also for a code they receive on their mobile phone via text or voice.

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Two-step verification reduces the chances that a malicious hacker will hijack an account, because the hacker would need to steal not only the user's password but also the user's phone.

However, it does make the log-in process more cumbersome and requires that end users do a configuration process for it on their phones. Thus, many users, given the option, don't adopt two-step verification.

Now, Apps administrators can make the process a requirement. "This new feature will help Google Apps customers accelerate their deployment of 2-step verification," wrote Rishi Dhand, a Google Apps Product Manager, in a blog post.

Google Apps, a cloud-hosted suite, includes email, calendar, productivity applications, IT management and security controls and a website builder. Its standard edition, called Google Apps, is free for up to 10 users, while an edition for schools and universities, Google Apps for Education, is also free but without a user limit. Versions for public sector customers, called Apps for Government, and for businesses, called Apps for Business, cost $50 per user, per year, or $5 per user, per month.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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