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Passwordless authentication is also becoming the new normal, with the new normal being life after the pandemic. It is a subset of Multi- factor Authentication (MFA) and is trending today. This generally means that the verification process has two factors, which can include fingerprints, magic links, or PINs that are sent directly to smartphones or email inboxes.
You must be thinking whether password less authentication is secure or not. How is it different from multi-factor authentication (MFA)? What are examples of it? What are the different passwordless authentication solutions? How to implement this? After reading this blog, you’ll have a full understanding of how passwordless authentication works and how it can address today’s cybersecurity and access management challenges.
What Is Passwordless Authentication?
Passwordless authentication means authenticating without using any passwords to increase security, improve brand performance, and conserve valuable IT resources. Single Sign-On (SSO), Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and other types of technologies have their own benefits, but they can all be bypassed with phishing, keylogging, password spraying, or brute force raids.
Passwordless authentication works great for all types of SaaS applications, like legacy, on-prem, cloud-based, and hybrid setups. Also, for users on-the-go who are becoming more dependent on smartphones as well as tablets, it is a better option. According to Gartner, 60% of large organizations and 90% of midsize enterprises (MSEs) will be using passwordless authentication in over 50% of use cases by the end 2022.
Going Passwordless can also help organizations enjoy the improved security standards along with implementing a seamless user experience (UX) to increase customer satisfaction. Organizations can also greatly reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) as passwords are very expensive to maintain.
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Types of Passwordless Authentication
Traditional password authentication requires a user to input something they know, i.e., a password to verify who they are. On the other hand, passwordless authentication methods require a user to show that they have something or that they are something, both of which are harder to bypass.
Below are the most common methods and trending types of Passwordless Authentication:
Biometrics: To verify a person if he/she is who they say they are, without any password, biometric authentication is used. It uses physical traits that are unique to each individual. Many physical traits are more or less completely unique to each individual. For instance, the probability that two faces are the same is less than one in a trillion, so facial recognition is an effective way to verify an individual.
Magic Links: In place of asking a user for a password, this form of passwordless authentication asks a user to enter their email address into the login box. After this, an email is then sent to the users, with a log in clickable link.
One-Time Passwords/Codes: One-time passwords (OTP) or one-time codes (OTC) are not different from magic links, but in this case, users are required to input a code that organizations can send them via email or to their mobile device via SMS in place of a logged in clickable link.
Push Notifications: In this, users will get a push notification on their mobile devices through a dedicated authenticator app (for example, Google Authenticator) and will have to open the app to verify their identity through a push notification.
Is Passwordless Authentication Better than a Password?
Passwordless authentication provides a seamless experience as compared to the traditional username and password (U/P) authentication for both you and your users. This will not only save you money but also lead to an increase in sales.
Reduced security risks
It that uses the latest authentication technologies like FIDO-compliant devices diminishes your enterprise’s vulnerability via phishing attacks (tricking users into downloading malware or providing sensitive information with a malicious email).
Since phishing accounts account for all data breaches and many are performed with the objective of getting a username and password, removing passwords means your users’ or employees’ data won’t be hacked.
Reduced costs (and increased sales) through a better user experience
On an average, a person has to remember 100 passwords and spends 12.6 minutes every week resetting them. This will increase the cost of your organization in password resets and customer service time more than you think.
You can reduce the costs by implementing passwordless authentication, as your users will be able to log in without a password. This also removes the need to store and maintain those password databases.
How to Implement Passwordless Authentication?
Coding passwordless authentication is a much more complex process than generally telling your development team to change the login box. For many enterprises, implementing this would be more easier than rewiring the whole house if your login box was a light switch. Yes, third-party providers offer a quick and more secure implementation along with up-to-date features that can be built in-house. It will fully depend on the design of your current Identity and Access Management (IAM) and the extent to which that analogy holds true for you.
Pros Of Passwordless Authentication
Brute Force Attack Immunity — Passwords are generally weak and are easy to hack in most cases. It is human nature to have the same passwords for all the applications, which increases the risk of password breaches. Passwordless Authentication will work as a Brute Force Attack Immunitator.
Improved User Experience (UX) — With the help of this, users do not have to remember passwords or change them constantly and follow strict password policy rules as it offers an easy flow.
Resource Friendly — As there is no need for passwords or password resets, there is no need for organizations to use more resources, which ultimately saves money.
Cons Of Passwordless Authentication
Still not an Established Standard — The initial point of passwordless authentication is somehow limited as the users are used to email and password-based authentication.
Dependency on 3rd Parties — It increases the dependency on the 3rd parties when any of the users is not getting their activation email.
Passwordless Authentication vs. MFA
Most of the time, people confuse passwordless authentication with MFA (multi-factor authentication), but in reality they’re completely different yet related concepts. MFA is a verification process that needs at least two factors of authentication. This can be any combination of knowledge-based (like a password), possession-based (like a token), or biometric (such as a retinal scan).
On the other hand, passwordless authentication would take place anytime you verify a user or device using anything but a knowledge-based factor.
Passwordless authentication is the latest and trending and is going to become the industry standard. It will boost engagement and satisfaction with the benefit of not requiring users to remember new passwords for different accounts, thus increasing the level of trust in the authentication flow. At Sennovate, we have taken all of these requirements into consideration when building our end-to-end user management platform.
Thinking of moving towards Passwordless Authentication but don’t know how to start? Sennovate is just a call away to help you out.
Hope this blog helps you to understand how to Architect an IAM solution for your startups and the benefits of IAM solution. Creating an effective IAM program goes beyond simply monitoring network access and updating users’ accounts. Sennovate is partner with various IAM solutions like Gluu, Forgerock, and others. Is your company ready to build an identity and access management architecture? Sennovate’s experts are here to help you.
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