Will Marissa Mayer bring strong authentication to Yahoo!?

Marissa Mayer’s appointment as Yahoo!’s new CEO has captured the attention of the world this week. By all accounts, she is an extremely accomplished professional. Let’s take a look at her background and achievements, aptly summarized by Tim Bradshaw: Firstly, she has a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University where she focused on artificial intelligence. Secondly, she joined Google as its 20th employee and swiftly rose up the ranks, contributing to valuable technical and business developments for the technology giant. Thirdly, with her strong product engineering skills and technical excellence, her appointment signals that Yahoo!’s days of innovation are not yet over.

So, what do we feel she should focus on as she takes the helm at Yahoo!? Obviously restoring Yahoo!’s reputation as a key internet innovator will be hot on her ‘to do’ list, but given Google has embraced two-factor authentication, we can only hope that Ms Meyer will bring the same values around security and strong authentication to Yahoo!’s fold, protecting its consumers and giving them the security to be free. Especially on the back of recent hacks that Yahoo! has experienced.

In related news, USA Today provided some great tips for users online to help them secure their passwords and data, which we thoroughly recommend. It also highlighted that Yahoo Mail doesn’t offer additional encryption options. This is where Ms Mayer can start to make a difference – in building user trust.

Our research among CIOs globally shows that multi-factor authentication is the most effective means of controlling access to sensitive data and systems by authorized users, yet companies still fail to embrace and adopt it. With such a high profile appointment to a company that has been beset by so many problems and yet still offers huge potential, we do feel confident that Marissa Mayer may well be the superpower needed to take on weak passwords (and everything that they stand for, i.e. a lack of innovative and authentication-based security). Here’s to technical expertise driving business and, hopefully, turning Yahoo! around.

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