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Passwordless – Not just a buzzword but a Reality!

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Passwords – We all hate them! Why? Because they are hard to remember. With the mandate on using numbers and special characters, we can’t get away by entering our name or date of birth anymore. They must be complex, different from all the other passwords and are meant to be remembered. But human brain can only store data to an extent where it is so simple that it can be easily recollected – unlike all our passwords.

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Also Read: Is Passwordless Authentication the Solution For Your Password Problems?

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Social media accounts, website logins, computer logins, mobile apps, and other password-based systems sum up to hundreds of passwords floating around. And remembering all of them is challenging. Well, one can save it on their browser as long as they are web-apps, or click on forgot password every time one logs in. But what if they are apps that don’t allow you to save your password such as banking apps, share market apps, etc.? It becomes cumbersome and impossible to remember all of them without storing it somewhere, either by writing it down on a paper and hiding it, or by storing it in a excel or word document on your device. Both scenarios are vulnerable to security breach and are not recommended.

According to Swoop, 30% of users quit a payment process if it requires setting a password. It shows us the mind-frame of the customers in terms of passwords – setting yet another hurdle in the overall customer experience.

Passwords have been a prime target for attackers since ages. Yet, they’ve been the most important layer of security for everything in our digital lives. A recent report on cyber-breaches stated that over 80% of all data breaches are caused by stolen or brute-forced credentials, reinforcing the need for a better authentication process. It is time organizations and individuals must embrace Passwordless authentication as their go-to mechanism.

By 2022, 60% of large and global enterprises, and 90% of midsize enterprises (MSEs), will implement passwordless methods in more than 50% of use cases, which is an increase from fewer than 5% today.”

— Gartner Market Guide for User Authentication

Password are expensive to manage. It is one of the top ten help desk support costs of mid-to-large organizations. According to Gartner, each year, 20-50% of all IT help desk tickets are for password resets. The resources used for these tickets and their time could well be used on other critical tickets or for new IT initiatives.

Due to password fatigue, users often choose weak passwords. They also often reuse or only slightly modify old passwords for different accounts. A recent study found that password reuse was observed among 52% of all users.

There are many password-related threats and attacks that are commonly used by attackers, mainly because they are simple, and they work. A few examples include brute-force attacks (password guessing); credential stuffing (automated login attempts using stolen credentials); phishing (an attempt to deceive users and illegally acquire sensitive information, like passwords); etc.

Password and their challenges

  1. Weak passwords: They are the entry point for most attacks across organizations. There are more than 500 password attacks every second — that’s 18 billion every year.
  2. Too Easy to Attack: Most people create passwords that are too easy to guess or deduce from their personal or peripheral information such as date of birth, mobile number, pets’ names, parents’ names, favorite band, etc.
  3. Complexity: To create passwords that are both secure and memorable is a challenge. Passwords are incredibly inconvenient to create, remember, and manage across all the accounts in our lives given its complex requirements.
  4. Forgetting a password: A third of people say that they completely stop using an account because they forgot the password. This has a direct impact on businesses losing their customers.

The Era of Passwordless Authentication

Any form of authentication that allows users to log in without typing a password can be classified as passwordless authentication. This can be achieved using single sign-ons, one-time passwords (OTPs), authenticator apps, biometrics, hardware tokens, etc. which can effectively replace the role of passwords.

Passwordless authentication replaces user’s identity assurance without relying on passwords, allowing users to authenticate effortlessly. Passwordless ecosystem provides the user with a frictionless login experience, while reducing administrative burden, overall security risks, and costs for an organization.

Benefits of Going Passwordless

  1. Stronger security and resilience

No passwords, no related attacks. Eliminating passwords altogether can prevent a company from password-related attacks. This can lead to enhanced security with less risks, which will translate into costs saved on cybersecurity initiatives.

  1. Improved user experience

IT teams can now configure passwordless authentication for all their applications and improve user experience and productivity by collectively saving hundreds of hours spent on password management with the help of Single Sign-on (SSO).

  1. Cost Savings

As stated earlier, password management, ticket resolution, help desk support generate considerable amount of expenses for an organization. Apart from surface costs, an organization also loses customers due to password woes adding to the overall opportunity loss and retention costs.

  1. Supports Zero Trust Policy

Passwordless enables Zero Trust Authentication. It enables an organization to run with a zero-trust policy across its users with the help of passwordless authentication systems such as biometrics, OTPs, etc. Passwordless authentication improves the workforce’s experience while strengthening organization’s trust in authentication and establishing a zero-trust architecture.

Embrace the Passwordless Era

Passwords are here to stay. But risk leaders must act now and design a zero-trust architecture across their enterprise that reduces password-stress amongst employees, boosts their productivity, and creates a stronger and more resilient ecosystem. By 2022, Gartner predicts that 60% of large and global enterprises, and 90% of midsize enterprises, will implement passwordless methods across their ecosystem. Will you be one of them?

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