Passwordless authentication solutions in the simplest terms are a way to verify any user’s identity, without asking them to enter a password. Further, instead of asking for passwords, passwordless authentication offers a much more secure alternative such as using biometrics like fingerprint/retina scan, emails, push notifications and OTPs, etc.
Passwords come with several setbacks such as being hard to remember and being misplaced or forgotten easily. Passwords are easy to hack, as per statistics, as much as 81% of hacking-related breaches happen because of stolen passwords or weak credentials. Additionally, 75% of breaches happened because of external attackers, and 25% involved internal attackers.
Issues with passwords
Let us address some of the major issues faced by users when it comes to password management.
- End users are forced to memorize, remember or write down their passwords.
- In order to escape password fatigue users, take risky shortcuts, like using the same passwords for all applications, or using weak and repetitive passwords. Sometimes they might even write down their passwords on desktop sticky notes
- People also manage their passwords through platforms such as LastPass. It is said to be one of the world’s largest password managers with over 25 million users. this year in 2022, LastPass confirmed that it has been hacked. Even these password management platforms are not secure.
- Cybercriminals often work by doing a user credential breach to gain access to an organization’s database. This becomes easier for them since more than 2/3rd of all people re-use their passwords.
How does passwordless authentication work?
Passwordless Authentication offers a variety of functions as well as business benefits. Let us try understanding this through the kinds of benefits it offers.
- A smooth sign-up and login experience
With just one click, a user will get authenticated, along with complying with all the security standards, and then be given access to the system. Overall, this also improves user experience, offering unified access to all software and applications.
- Strengthens security
This entirely eliminates the aspect of database management. Eliminating them nullifies the chances of security breaches and data theft. Even though database security is fool-proof passwords can be predictable, and often redundant.
- Reduction in maintenance cost
One of the most complex processes of password management is the process of managing, keeping a track of, and restoring passwords. According to a study by Forrester Research, large-scale organizations can save as much as 1 million dollars on password management.
- Increases the conversion rates
Since passwordless authentication reduces and eliminates the whole hassle of creating an account with a username and password. In fact, passwordless authentication offers a hassle-free and user-friendly experience by ensuring a smooth completion of signups and payments.
Passwordless authentication solutions
Let us now take a look at some of the most commonly used passwordless authentication methods.
- One-Time Passwords:
One-Time Passwords (OTPs), require the users to feed the code to the sign-up page, which they have received through an email or SMS. This process is repeated every time a user logs into the system. The user will have access to their applications and system after entering the one-time-use code in the login box.
- Push Notifications:
Users get a push notification on their devices through an authenticator application such as Google Authenticator. This works as an alert message, notifying the users of a login attempt. They can approve or deny the request, by simply pressing a button.
Biometric authentication is the process of verifying a user by using a fingerprint, face or retina scan as they are unique to every individual. These unique biological characteristics compare these physical traits and then authenticate, and confirm data stored in the system. At last, when the data is matched and confirmed the individual is granted access to the system. Usually, biometric authentication is utilized to grant access to both physical and digital resources, such as devices, buildings, or specific rooms.
- Magic Links
With the help of Magic Link, a user can authenticate without a password. So instead of asking users to input their passwords to log in, they have to input their email, and then they receive a link into their inbox. Users have to just click on the link they received in their inbox in order to log in. This process is repeated every time a user has to log in.
How to implement passwordless authentication?
- Pick your authentication method:
The first step is choosing a preferred authentication method. There are a variety of options to choose from in the above-mentioned methods. If you choose the biometric method, it can be a little complicated because you will need to install hardware on your end. Other possession factors, such as (OTPs, and LINKs), can be obtained by purchasing high-level security software from an IAM Vendor
- How many factors?
It is generally recommended to utilize multiple authentication methods, it could be password authentication or passwordless. Being dependent on one authentication factor might not be safe in the longer run.
- Buy the required hard/ software:
In order to implement biometric-related authentication methods, there is required software to be installed and hardware tokens need to be utilized as well.
- Choose a service provider:
Coding and implementing passwordless authentication can be a daunting task. As it isn’t just limited to instructing your development team to change the functionality of the login and sign-up page. Implementing passwordless authentication has many layers and levels to it, so third-party service providers can offer a more secure way to implement the same rather than building it in-house.
- Transition can be a little challenging:
Sometimes, employees and end users become too comfortable with existing methods such as logging in with usernames and passwords to access their applications. And hence, some training will be required for the employees, to make them comfortable and get them used to a newer authentication method along with the IT admins who will administer the whole process.
What are the benefits of passwordless authentication?
- Enhanced user experience – since users do not need to input their credentials again and again it enhances the user experience. Users need to log in only once and they can get access to all the applications and services on one single dashboard.
- Enhances security – In passwordless authentication there is no password management involved, this highly reduces the risk of credential theft and account impersonation.
- Simplify IT operations – by eliminating the issue of securing, resetting, and managing passwords, IT admins can focus on other productive tasks at hand, thus simplifying their IT operations.
miniOrange offers multiple authentication mechanisms, such as one-time passcodes sent via SMS and email, Push Notification, Biometrics, and others, which are supported by passwordless security.
The end-user experience should be the primary consideration when choosing a dedicated authentication factor. If your users utilize mobile devices on a regular basis, techniques like OTP over SMS or Link Based Authentication, will be handier.
If your users, on the other hand, use corporate applications with on-premise support, email is the ideal option. The most preferred is OTP over SMS, it is considered to be the best passwordless way to adopt because it will provide end-users with a predictable and consistent approach to traditional authentication.
Why you should go passwordless?
Opting for passwordless authentication entirely eliminates password-related security issues. When there are no passwords the threat of weak or stolen credentials is no more a matter of concern.
Is passwordless authentication safe?
Passwordless authentication is the most efficient way of eliminating weak password management practices and thus also removing any kind of stolen credential theft attacks. and so instead of manually entering passwords an alternate way of identity verification is used such as hardware tokens, fingerprints, and face or retina scans.
What is the strongest authentication method?
One of the most unique and strongest authentication methods is biometric authentication. since this is based on unique biological traits of a person such as a retina scan, fingerprints, etc. hence this is considered the safest authentication method.
Why is passwordless authentication better?
Passwordless authentication can effectively suppress data and identity theft issues because of unauthorized access caused due to stolen or weak login credentials.
MFA vs Passwordless Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) utilizes more than one authentication factors to verify the identity of a user. There can be a range of factors, such as a PIN, password, retina scan, face recognition, fingerprint, or any smart device. Simply put multi-factor authentication utilizes multiple authentication factors to verify a user, before granting them access of application and resources.
In Passwordless authentication a user’s identity is verified by the system without asking them to log in through the password. Here, passwords are simply replaced with other suitable authentication methods. In this there can be either single-factor passwordless authentication or passwordless MFA.
2 thoughts on “Passwordless Authentication”
Do you have any solutions for AD self service.
We do have MS Active Directory and would like to have our users reset their password without helpdesk assistance
Thanks in advance
Thank you for reaching out to us.
Yes, we do provide a self-service console on your end user that allows them to reset their password in the AD all by themselves.
If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com