Passwords are a source of many security risks, with recent LastPass research revealing IT teams are spending five hours a week on average dealing with password-related issues.
A passwordless login experience, on the other hand, provides employees with a user-friendly and secure way of accessing their accounts and devices – no matter where they are. This eliminates many password-related risks, such as password reuse or failing to change default credentials, which means improved security and a more productive workforce by reducing the need for IT support.
The transition to a passwordless society
As many organizations move toward a long-term remote working culture, it is more important than ever to give employees the tools and resources they need to stay online securely, both at home and at work. Organizations face ongoing challenges in password security, and there has never been a bigger need for a solution that enables both IT teams and employees to work more efficiently and securely in the new normal.
The LastPass study highlights that the shift from traditional passwords with the associated risks, to passwordless authentication continues to progress and is becoming even more important due to the rise in remote working worldwide. Password usage will never disappear completely, but 92% believe passwordless authentication is the future of their organization.
The technologies replacing passwords
The easiest way to eliminate password-related security risks is during the login process for end users. Passwords are still used behind the scenes, but they are not entered manually during the login process, helping to minimize password related risks.
Authentication protocols such as Single Sign-On (SSO) enable communication between an identity provider and a service provider. With SSO, the user authenticates themself not only with the identity provider, but also simultaneously with all applications assigned to them. SSO is usually based on the SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) protocol.
Protocols such as SAML contribute to a higher level of general security because no passwords are used. In addition, protocols make the connection more secure than would be possible with passwords alone. And employees are happy because they can access their business applications without having to enter additional passwords. As a result, SSO benefits both IT teams and employees.
Federated identity management connects an identity provider to a service provider. Once an employee is authenticated by the identity provider, the integration means that he or she is also authenticated with the service providers assigned to them – without having to enter a separate password. After logging on, they have access to both integrated resources and can use them throughout their workday without a password.
This enables IT teams to securely manage employees throughout their lifecycle – from onboarding to offboarding – in a unified view across multiple IAM solutions.
Biometric authentication allows users to confirm their identity using unique attributes, such as fingerprint, face or voice, without having to enter a password. Users are accustomed to this type of authentication for both business and private devices. It provides a simple and seamless user experience for employees and is much easier than typing a password. However, companies need to ensure that biometric data is stored securely and locally and not in the cloud, ensuring security and confidentiality.
Elimination of risks with technology
Problems with passwords are still a constant struggle for organizations, yet there are many options that can be utilized. The time IT teams spend managing users’ passwords and credentials has increased by 25% since 2019 alone. Additionally, 95% of respondents believe that using passwords poses risks and makes them susceptible to cyber attacks. As a result, the majority of IT and security professionals (85%) want to reduce the number of passwords that each employee uses every day.
And overwhelmingly, 69% of IT experts are convinced that a passwordless authentication model strengthens security, with 58% stating it eliminates password-related risks. Added to this are time (54%) and cost (48%) savings. More than half (53%) of those surveyed also say that passwordless authentication has the potential to provide convenient access from anywhere. This is of crucial importance in view of the shift to remote working.
While passwords will not disappear completely in the future, there is a clear need for solutions which combine passwordless authentication and password management, and ultimately eliminate the risks of poor password security habits.