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Why Businesses Should Implement Passwordless Authentication Right Now

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the privacy-driven business environment, passwords are gradually becoming obsolete. Did you know that the first digital password debuted in the 1960s? Until then, passwords had remained the same over time, despite several improvements to digital identification and verification.

Certainly, passwords are a holdover from the era before when cyber crime and password-based attacks became a serious and pervasive issue. With the proliferation of technology and user accounts, major challenges have emerged due to passwords, including the need for users to remember numerous passwords, support expenses and — most importantly — the security concerns posed by stolen credentials. As a result, the reason for eliminating passwords from the authentication process becomes more compelling every day. This is where passwordless authentication comes to the rescue.

Related: Here’s Why It’s Time to Move Away From Passwords

What is passwordless authentication?

Passwordless authentication eliminates the need for a password by allowing users’ identities to be verified by their biometrics or other possessions, thereby minimizing security vulnerabilities. Backing this statement, Microsoft claims that combining biometrics and possession authentication reduces account security risks by 99.9%.

Considering the vulnerabilities of password-based authentications, businesses must take the necessary actions to implement passwordless authentication as soon as possible to secure their users’ data and identities. In light of that, I’ll explain why this is the ideal time for businesses to use passwordless authentication.

Witnessing current technological advancements, it is evident that authentication techniques have also advanced significantly since former times, providing us with safer and more beneficial alternatives for authentication. Why do we still secure our data using old and ineffective techniques like password-based authentication?

However, fortunately, businesses are now quickly evolving to replace passwords since technology and its users continue to grow along with the demand for branding, visibility and application efficiency, thereby leading to enhanced data privacy and security.

Considering the potential dangers and inconveniences involved with using passwords, many businesses are now moving on from passwords eventually and switching to more secure authentication methods like passwordless authentication. Furthermore, given the surge in cyber attacks and credential theft, abandoning passwords is highly advantageous, and when done correctly, it increases security and convenience.

Related: Here’s Why Passwordless Authentication Is Better for the Business Environment

Why businesses should consider going passwordless right now

When businesses adopt passwordless, they must first identify the drawbacks of using passwords and feel the benefits of a passwordless future. In that context, it is essential to consider security, authenticity and applicability. The critical justifications for businesses to take the passwordless route are outlined in the list below.

Get rid of exhausting password management:

For users, it’s easy to mistype or forget passwords for their accounts. They eventually develop weak passwords like p@ssw0rd or Password*12345 to make them easier to remember. Moreover, many users tend to write them down on sticky notes or save them in a computer document, compromising critical information security.

However, there are no passwords to remember with passwordless authentication since they only involve authentication factors like email or SMS OTP, magic links and biometrics. Also, businesses can save users’ time by eliminating the need to hunt up the right passwords or frequent password resets, thereby making the user experience seamless.

Reduce the cost of IT support:

According to Forrester research, businesses spend up to $1 million annually on equipment and personnel to handle password resets. Fortunately, password-related expenditures, including password storage and administration costs, can be drastically reduced with passwordless authentication.

Decrease the likelihood of password-based attacks:

Businesses are becoming increasingly susceptible to password-based attacks, but only a few are equipped to defend against them. Passwords are highly vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can be deceptively subtle and take various forms. However, by using passwordless authentication, this risk is minimized. Going passwordless necessitates an initial infrastructure investment, but it can eventually lower the cost of password management.

Users’ information is safer when passwords are eliminated:

Years of experience have made it easy for cyber criminals to guess, steal or acquire passwords. For instance, Microsoft reported that 44 million accounts were at risk of account takeover due to stolen or compromised passwords.

Also, a Google poll revealed that 65% of users repeat passwords across numerous accounts or websites. Given these statistics, it is probable that passwords have already caused threats and will continue to do so to the detriment of businesses and their users. Businesses cannot fully influence users’ behavior, but by going passwordless, they may decrease the likelihood of a cyber attack.

Passwordless authentication increases conversion rates:

Businesses that make login processes more seamless for users get higher conversion rates. When logging in with passwords, users often give up halfway through the procedure since they find it too difficult or time-consuming to complete. For instance, VTEX, a cloud-based ecommerce platform, claims that getting rid of password-based logins that reduce login friction can increase conversions by up to 54%.

Related: Passwords Are Scarily Insecure. Here Are a Few Safer Alternatives.

The aforementioned reasons are some critical aspects that should drive businesses to adopt passwordless as soon as possible.

Since the risks associated with passwords continue to rise, businesses must swiftly move on from passwords in preference for efficient passwordless multi-factor authentication systems. Businesses that implement it correctly will increase security while enhancing user comfort for authentication. The decision to start a passwordless journey depends on your business model and needs.

Going passwordless is more likely to be an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary process. Even though it won’t happen overnight, businesses can gradually transition to a passwordless future by carefully planning their strategy and roadmap toward the end vision. And businesses aware of all the considerations and standards will be in a good position to design a passwordless journey to prevent identity threats, provide excellent digital experiences and increase brand exposure.

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