Passwords may be the most widely used user authentication method in the world, but they’re also one of the weakest cyber defenses available to your business. This is because, by nature, username/password combinations can easily be hacked or exploited. Cybercriminals can use brute force attacks to guess passwords in seconds, or they can employ sophisticated forms of phishing scams to trick victims into giving up their login credentials. What’s more, poor cybersecurity habits such as password recycling and using simple character combinations can make it easier for malicious actors to steal login information.
And while it may be impossible to completely do away with passwords just yet, you should start looking for tougher security measures that can keep attackers at bay. Passwordless authentication is one of the best solutions to implement if you want to boost your cybersecurity defenses.
What is passwordless authentication?
Passwordless authentication refers to a group of user verification solutions that don’t rely on passwords. Instead, these solutions use unique identifiers that cannot easily be replicated or stolen. These identifiers could be something that a user has, such as a one-time PIN or a security key, or something that a user is, such as their biometric data (e.g., a fingerprint or a voice pattern).
The benefits of going passwordless
According to Gartner, about 60% of large enterprises and 90% of mid-sized companies will be using passwordless solutions by 2022. And this is well underway: Microsoft reveals that 90% of their employees already use passwordless authentication, and about 150 million monthly Microsoft users sign in without entering a password.
Here are some compelling reasons why your business should invest in passwordless technologies:
1. Enhanced cybersecurity
The weak nature of passwords, combined with poor password practices, can make your company vulnerable to cyberattacks. By doing away with passwords, you eliminate risks that rely on them to succeed, such as phishing attacks, credential stuffing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and keyloggers.
You also minimize human error-related factors that lead to data breaches. For instance, passwordless authentication removes the need for users to memorize a handful of passwords, a practice that often leads to them choosing simple combinations or using the same passwords for multiple accounts. This is a huge way to diminish risk factors, as reused or easily detectable passwords are prone to phishing attacks.
2. Improved productivity and user experience
Creating and remembering secure passwords can be a hassle. Sometimes, users forget their passwords and have to submit password reset tickets to the IT department, with the whole process taking a toll on their productivity.
Passwordless solutions make the login process more efficient. They offer a convenient way to log in, so you and your team can finally say goodbye to entering complicated character strings before being given access to the apps and information you need. Microsoft’s biometrics-based security system, for instance, enables users to simply scan their finger, iris, or face to access Microsoft apps.
And because your staff will no longer have to deal with passwords, every login will be guaranteed to work. This will rid your IT team of the burden of resetting passwords, enabling them to focus on tasks that add value to your business.
3. Higher cost savings
Password-based authentication is expensive. A password reset request alone can cost businesses $70 on average, a figure that includes lost productivity due to downtime while the issue is being resolved. And with the average employee requesting password resets about 1.2 times a year, it’s easy to see why password-related costs can skyrocket.
To minimize password resets, organizations often deploy password managers, but these solutions also cost money and are usually paid on a per-user, per-month subscription basis.
According to Forrester, US-based enterprises allocate more than $1 million to password-related support costs annually. If you choose passwordless solutions, you can get rid of these password-related costs and gain higher cost savings that you can use to focus on efforts that improve your bottom line.
Implementing passwordless solutions is not an easy task, but with a reputable managed IT services provider like HERO Managed Services by your side, you can go passwordless and roll out other cybersecurity solutions without a hitch. Learn more about how our services can keep your business secured. Drop us a line today.