Evolving Cybersecurity with Passwordless Authentication
As pandemic induced digitalization around the globe, cybersecurity infiltrations witnessed a rise. According to
Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, 92% institutions in higher education echelon witnessed security breaches and attacks in the span of 12 months prior to April 2022. Needless to say, fortification against cyberattacks became a priority, which remains a challenge until now and various reasons contribute to this difficulty. Passwordless Authentication is a step towards consolidation and minimizing infiltrations.
What is Passwordless Authentication?
Contrary to prior method of authentication using credentials (username and password), Passwordless Authentication optimizes multiple factors of authentication to verify the user, while entirely eliminating the use of passwords. Since most breaches are successful due to weak or stolen passwords, this approach of authentication protects user accounts much more efficiently.
These factors can be divided into three types: Biometrics, Possessions, and Magic Links.
Biometrics: Verification using physical traits of the user – fingerprint and retina scan, and behavioral traits – typing and touch screen dynamics. Comparatively, behavioral traits are more difficult for the attackers to portray.
Possessions: With possession factors, users authenticate by proving that their device is in their possession. Such as SMS OTPs, hardware token, or the code generated by any authenticator app.
Magic Links: With magic links, users provide their email addresses, and the system sends them an email with an embedded token via email and sometimes via SMS. When users click these links, the server verifies the token, and users are granted access to the resource.
How is Passwordless Authentication safe?
Passwordless Authentication is tougher to crack, given the added layers of security pertaining to user authentication. However, it is not infallible, a proportion of sophisticated hackers can find a way around it. Fortunately, IT is working around the clock towards strengthening the cybersecurity and coming up with better ways to protect information and restrict unauthorized access. So far, Passwordless Authentication has proven to be securer than other methods.
How is Passwordless Authentication beneficial?
In the higher education echelon, it is crucial to protect student information, finances, data, and intellectual property. Most institutions have adopted MFA as an added security of their sensitive information and data. While MFA implements an added factor for authentication along with credentials, Passwordless Authentication uses multiple factors to authenticate the user without the need of entering passwords.
Institutions can benefit from Passwordless Authentication in the following aspects:
- Reinforce Security: Passwordless Authentication allows users to login securely, using factors of authentication initially configured by them. It is the primary benefit of this authentication as the sole objective of Passwordless is to carry out securer logins than password-based login.
- Elevated User-Experience: Users are often prompted to set complicated passwords in order to keep their accounts secure, which often leads to memorization failure. The never-ending password reset processes develop frustration in users, hence, resulting in negative user-experience. Passwordless authentication enables users to log in using factors that they do not have to memorize, thus, elevating the user-experience altogether.
- Diminished Operation Costs: A comparatively high proportion of help desk calls consist of password reset requests, which contribute majorly to the operation costs. Furthermore, Passwords are high maintenance and expensive to maintain. Eliminating passwords as an authentication factor leads to replacing the operation costs spent for password resets to more important priorities of your institution.
- Better IT Control & Visibility: Replacing passwords with other factors also restrict sharing and reuse of passwords. Passwordless Authentication enables institutes’ IT to have a better visibility over identity and access management.
To conclude, Passwordless Authentication is gaining increasing attention as it caters to the need of strengthening cybersecurity for higher education institutions. Aligning with various security needs, it is slowly making a significant impact on cybersecurity. Needless to say, it is the best time to implement Passwordless Authentication in your institution’s IT infrastructure.