Although passwords have been around for centuries in some form or another, they are not the best option for modern digital environments. Data breaches have exposed billions upon billions of passwords. This is why enterprises need to find a solution that protects both customers and employees. Unfortunately, 61% of data breaches involve unauthorized credentials.
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There are many benefits to reducing and then eliminating passwords
Many people are familiar with passwords. It will take some time to adjust to the idea that a passwordless environment is possible. There are many reasons why a company might want to stop using passwords. These are just a few of the many benefits.
Reduce the risk of a breach by using passwords. Passwords are the most popular attack method used by bad actors.
Avoid the domino effect. Many customers reuse passwords. A company won’t be exposed if they share a customer who has been breached with another company.
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Reduce storage concerns
Identity theft is less common: Only one in ten Americans are currently victims. You can create a better experience for your customers and employees. Passwords are essential for data breaches. They make it easier for attackers to gain access to accounts or networks. An attacker can view sensitive data if they have sufficient privileges to access an account. It is much harder to steal or intercept biometric or one-time passcodes or identity theft. Cybercriminals love passwords because they are easy to crack.
Customers appreciate the passwordless environment as they don’t need to remember their password when they checkout. Customers are often lost at the checkout counter because they don’t know their passwords. With so many choices and limited attention spans, customers have many options. Customers don’t want to sign up for new services if they are too time-consuming. Complex password rules are not only insecure, but they can also be detrimental to user experience. These passwords are easy to forget, so resetting them can be a hassle. It is exhausting and takes away from the excitement of purchasing.
Passwordless is also an economic decision that makes sense. Consider the financial impact of a data breach on an organization. Passwordless authentication can dramatically reduce a company’s risk of being breached. Consider second, how many customers are lost during registration and checkout, and the unrealized potential value of these customers. This conversion rate will be increased if you don’t have a password. What percentage of help desk tickets is dedicated to password problems? It is usually around 80% for most companies. It is a major cost center. Eliminating these tickets will decrease costs. This can vary depending on the salaries of IT staff and employees who experience downtime waiting for their service ticket. Employees will be more productive and save time if passwords are not required. Each employee spends approximately 11 hours each year resetting passwords. It’s a substantial amount of lost productivity when you add that to every employee within a company.
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Steps to become passwordless
After a company has weighed all the benefits and decided to go with passwordless, the next step is to centralize user authentication (also known as single sign on). Multi-factor authentication is an additional security measure that organizations can take to prevent an attack. You can gradually eliminate passwords by using risk scoring or a different method to enable passwordless login.
Biometrics, such as fingerprints, face scans, QR codes, trusted devices, or magic links, are some examples of passwordless authentication. This can be a very simple, insecure way of “password vaulting”, or a company could choose to use FIDO (Fast Identity Online), which is an industry standard for passwordless authentication but requires additional devices or applications.
The key components of passwordless authentication, to recapitulate, are:
- SSO: Enable MFA through central authentication
Risque: The ability to make authentication decisions in the background based upon a user’s location, behavior, and device eliminates friction.
Device/OS: Web and mobile users have different needs. Use what your employees and customers can use, and what your apps are capable of doing.
Organizational alignment is essential. Senior staff, users, help desk, and developers must all be involved. All must be moving in the same direction.
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- The future of passwords
Although passwords can pose security risks, they will not disappear overnight. Since passwords have been used with computers for over 60 years, it will be difficult to change.
IT leaders can keep working to increase security and minimize user friction by using passwordless authentication. They can use concepts like authentication and risk to answer questions within their organizations, and help them reach the ultimate goal: passwordless security.