Emerging solutions for Identity and Cyber Security are revolutionising how companies approach digital transformation. An example of this is Microsoft recently announcing that they would support secure USB keys endorsed by FIDO (Fast Identity Alliance Online) to allow people to log in without a password.
This ability to sign in with a security key enables users to access devices without a username or password, creating what Microsoft is calling a passwordless feature.
This is a significant step forward in the digital industry, as passwords have long since been one of the most significant vulnerabilities to corporate security. Rob Lefferts, Vice President of Security at Microsoft released a statement saying "Passwords are bad for the planet. They're bad for people. They're the easiest way for attackers to get in, and in the case of account takeovers, they're even a way to force people out.” In fact, the average employee has over 100 passwords that they need to maintain. Companies need to realise that passwords are not an effective means of preventing a data breach. This is because users often employ duplicate passwords and do not update their passwords regularly. Two-factor authentication with SMS is not foolproof either and can be easily manipulated by hackers.
A majority of data breaches that companies are facing now are often the result of these passwords becoming compromised. For this reason, Microsoft has long been an advocate of passwordless technology (including biometric options through Windows Hello) – encouraging companies to replace or reduce the number of passwords they use while also enabling security solutions to minimise risk and improve productivity. The use of biometrics, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning are used to enhance security, and when combined with other additional attributes such as geolocation, device registration and user based behaviours, significantly improves the identity associated with a connection.
The new password-free logins using FIDO2 keys will support users across a variety of Microsoft services, such as Microsoft, Outlook, Office, OneDrive, Skype, Xbox Live, and more. FIDO members are diverse in tech, retail, and banking, and include Amazon, Google, Intel, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft.
Alex Simmons, the vice president of Microsoft's Identity Division, spoke about the deployment, saying: “This combination of ease of use, security and broad industry support is going to be transformational. Every month, more than 800 million people use a Microsoft account to create, connect, and share… now they can all benefit from this simple user experience and greatly improved security.”
Passwordless logins are going to transform how we engage with a digitally driven work environment. Business users and consumers will begin accessing devices and applications differently, combining ease of use and improved security to facilitate better experiences, increased productivity, and ultimately better security and protection of data associated with an individual.
MOQdigital can assist you and your business with all aspects of Identity based security within your organisation, including Multi-Factor Authentication options from Microsoft, Cisco (through its recent acquisition of Duo) and RSA, and integration of these solutions into user device authentication, cloud-based and remote access solutions, wired and wireless network access, and application and data security strategies. Contact us today to find out more.