Since their invention in the 1960s, passwords have been one of the main methods of authentication. However, with new technologies and trends, things are changing. Though it is an emerging method, passwordless authentication has gained popularity among many companies as of late.
Many businesses now understand the importance of this method of authentication and are implementing it. Businesses can provide their customers with improved user experience by eliminating passwords to authenticate logins.
With this type of authentication, users do not need to remember passwords.
But what are its benefits and drawbacks? In this article, we discuss what passwordless authentication is, and why you should consider this method of authentication for your business and its drawbacks.
What is Passwordless Authentication?
Passwordless authentication is a method that verifies users into a system without the need for users to provide passwords. With this method, users do not need to remember or memorize a knowledge-based secret.
Why Is There a Need for Passwordless Authentication?
As a means of authentication, passwords have been under increased criticism.
To most users, keeping track of the required credentials is a major challenge. What’s more is that the applications have different password complexity requirements, making it hard for an average user to remember.
Passwords hinder users’ security in several ways. They are common grounds for identity attacks through hacking. Below are just some of the practices that make passwords vulnerable to attacks:
Choosing the right passwords for all accounts from personal accounts, work accounts, and social media platforms can be challenging.
Most people will choose one password to use for all the platforms. Reusing passwords may be convenient, but it could lead to major security problems. If a hacker successfully gets into one of the accounts, they will be able to hack the rest.
Never compromise security
for convenience, choose both!
Using Weak Passwords
Most people choose commonly used passwords such as personal names, date of birth, geographical locations, phone numbers, and pets names, among others so that they can remember easily. Remember that using weak passwords is a gift to hackers.
Improper Storing of Passwords
Lack of proper password management, especially in companies, can lead to severe security attacks and consequences. Writing passwords on sticky notes or notebooks, which is common among many people, can leak passwords to the public.
Forms of Passwordless Authentication
There are various ways of implementing a passwordless authentication method for users. Below are the standard forms of applications and websites use:
With email authentication, users need to provide their email address as a means of verification. The user will then need to click on the link in order to log in.
In addition to emails, there is authentication with a one-time code. User needs to submit their email address to get the code, which the user enters to log in to the application.
With SMS authentication, a user provides a valid phone number in the application. The user will then receive the code sent to the phone number, which he/she can use to log in.
A system generates the code automatically, and only the user gets to know the code. If the phone number already exists, you will get notified.
Third-party application logins
The third-party application logins use multi-factor, Biometrics, and cloud directory to verify users and log in. They are safe, and your information cannot get hacked.
Biometric authentication uses fingerprints and scans users to gain access to accounts. This type of authentication works on smartphones where users place their thumbs on the scanner to get logged in.
Pros and Cons
Passwordless authentication comes with both advantages and disadvantages. However, the pros outweigh the cons in a significant way.
Improved User Experience
As discussed earlier, entering a password every time a user is using an application is quite a hassle. With this new authentication method, the user experience is improved, and there are no hassles involved.
Users do not have to remember the sophisticated use of secret numbers, letters, and special characters to be logged in. This is essential for customer-facing apps that want to provide users with a secure login experience.
The significant advantage of this method of authentication is security. With this method, users do not need to worry about hackers and losing information from their cloud directory.
Password duplication is common among most people, and when there is no password to hack, users are protected from the vulnerability. For businesses with many users, eliminating passwords reduces a lot of risks.
Fast and Convenient
The process of remembering and entering passwords sometimes takes longer, especially if the characters are complex. But when you eliminate passwords during authentication, the process becomes easy and quick. Users do not spend much time logging it. In most cases, authentication is one-time, hence saves time.
Reduces Administration Overhead
Whenever there is a new user or employee, the administration will be required to provide passwords, which is not the case with this type of authentication.
When an employee leaves a company, the password reset is necessary to protect the company’s information. This can be tiresome and overwhelming for the administration.
Difficult to Troubleshoot
Since this passwordless authentication method is still not familiar to many people, users may encounter problems.
If a user wants to log in to another device, it can be problematic. Moreover, if one loses their device, which has the authentications, it can take time to troubleshoot and get their accounts back.
Therefore, a company will need an experienced support team from identity and access management firm to help out when such issues arise.
Although many companies, with passwordless authentication, save on costs, the cost of installing this type of authentication may initially be costly. A business will be required to make initial investments based on the form of implementation you want. For instance, for a smartphone-based authentication, a company will need to consider development costs to ensure it runs smoothly.
However, after the deployment costs, there are no other costs involved.
Some Smartphones do not Support Biometrics
When using Biometrics for this authentication method, the user must have a smartphone with a scanner. This is not possible for users whose smartphones do not support Biometrics. It can be a significant drawback if a business is offering services through a smartphone-based application.
Make a Decision Today
In this article, we have seen how passwordless authentication enhances user experience and customers’ experience, which can improve your brand.
Despite the few drawbacks, the benefits are significant and could impact your business positively.
Cloud identity and access management platforms such as Teamstack can help your business deal with all the challenges that come with the authentication process.
With their experience and access to over 500 applications, including G Suite, Slack, and Dropbox; Teamstack provides your business with all the necessary resources to onboard, manage and automate your employees and customers’ accounts.
This includes passwordless login, single sign-on via SAML, multi-factor authentication, and browser extension support, among many more services.