Passwordless Authentication and User Experience

Passwordless Authentication

What is a product made for? End of the day? Yes, the user. Whether it is to protect the user, their data, or to enhance user adoption with the best of user experience—this is what every product ever created must and should aim for. Yet, a lot of user experience is muddled due to the competition between different solution providers and the need to provide the most cutting edge technology.

But, sometimes, this compromises on user experience was a necessity for a long time with passwords.  Since the advent of passwords, over 30 years ago, login methods with a user name or email id combined with a preferred password has been the way to go about securing accounts. But, recent events of security breaches have shown us how this isn’t working anymore.

Hackers seem to be finding multiple ways to break open accounts by several password attack methods. Credential stuffing, phishing, brute force attack are a few among those. Here the hacker has to get lucky enough to break through this one layer of security and from there could move laterally in the network.

To combat this, there are several best practices for passwords, which just increases the complexity for users. This, in turn, contributes to employees requesting password resets. According to Forrester, a North American healthcare organization spends approximately $160 to $170 per employee per year on password-related issues alone. Even if you think of it as a corporate expense, there is a lot of time that is lost when an employee waits for a password reset itself. In turn, burdening the IT with unnecessary requests.

Although passwords aren’t exactly going away from our accounts, be it on the business front or your personal accounts, there are ways to secure your accounts. Passwordless authentication has been around for quite some time now. We have discussed the different types of password resets in our previous blog, The passwordless future of work.

In this blog, we will tell you how password authentication is not just more secure but also provides a good user experience when implemented in the right way.

Ease of use and access with passwordless authentication

Ease of availability is no longer a luxury in businesses but a necessity. You want all your applications on your fingertips, accessible as and when you need it. With passwordless authentication, the user does not have to scramble for passwords, but, can obtain the access just because of the attributes they possess.

For example, consider a user who wants to access an application, and the desired login method is the OTP linked to their phone number. If the user is who they claim to be, then the OTP would reach their phone in seconds, and upon merely entering the same, they have logged in!

This ensures security because the OTP is unique to the user serving the purpose of ease of use, and the phone is almost with the user, serving the purpose of ease of access as well.

Contextual security with IAM

Multi-factor authentication often created barriers with users having to login multiple times using different factors. However, passwordless authentication using IAM can improve user experience radically.

For example, when a user, who is known to login in from certain device logs in, the user is only prompted with a password or OTP login. Now, if the user tries to login, since the attribute of device is different there are prompted with an additional notification on their email ID. This can ensure the user is who they claim to be.

Choice of security

Passwordless authentication gives freedom to the user. Remembering passwords, maintaining a record of different passwords safely is a challenge. Here the user can select the mode of passwordless authentication they are comfortable with. Be it a biometric login, OTP, PIN, and so on.

With these methods, the users cannot get phished as they don’t have to enter details on a website and yet stay secure.

Passwordless authentication, combined with IAM, with the vendors who know how to do right, is the suggested method even by Forrester. Improve user experience and security while you save money and complexity!

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