Mass use of passwords as the prime authentication method for different applications is one of the significant security risks of modern-day business. Passwords toned to be designed to secure access to sensitive data, but now passwords create a false sense of security and leave significant holes in a business’s defences.
To fight against this security risk, many organizations are moving towards password-less technology. It is often used in conjunction with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Single Sign-on solutions to improve the user experience, strengthen security, and reduce IT operations expense and complexity.
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The risks behind passwords
According to the ‘Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report‘, 61 percent of data breaches over the last year used login credentials. The most popular way for criminals to hack into business networks and consumer accounts is by stealing passwords.
Passwords are stored in a database by the application, making it an obvious target for cybercriminals. Passwords are a proxy identifier for users, and they choose passwords that relate to something in their lives. Therefore it is easy to guess the passwords and gain entry to sensitive data.
Some users have followed expert advice and opted for more complicated passwords with the help of a password generator. However, they remain at risk because the techniques previously mentioned (phishing sites and credential theft malware) do not care whether the password is four or four hundred characters long.
Password-less Authentication Reduces Risk, Improves User Satisfaction
By eliminating risky password management practices and reducing attack vectors, password-less Authentication strengthens security. It improves user experiences by eliminating password and secret fatigue. In Password-less Authentication, users need no passwords to memorize, or security question answers to remember. They can securely and conveniently access applications and services using other authentication methods that include:
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- Proximity badges, physical tokens, or USB devices
- Software tokens or certificates
- Fingerprint, voice or facial recognition, or retina scanning
- A mobile phone application
Password-less authentication is deployed in conjunction with single sign-on. Therefore, an IT employee can use the same proximity badge, security token or mobile application to access all their enterprise applications and services. This Authentication is also often used as part of a Multi-Factor Authentication solution. To gain access to enterprise applications and systems users are forced to provide multiple forms of evidence.
The latest MFA solutions support adaptive authentication methods and use contextual information (location, time-of-day, IP address, device type, etc.) and business rules to determine which authentication factors to apply to a particular user in a specific situation. Adaptive MFA balances convenience securely.
Replacing old solutions with password-less technology is a fundamental way of strengthening an organization’s defences. This situation reduces the frustrations felt by users in the verification processes. The benefits of password-less are already being recognized, and as traction increases, more businesses will join the move towards a safer future.
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