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Securing the Future: The Rise of Passwordless Authentication


Forget passwords like 12345! Dive into the world of passwordless systems, where businesses unlock a safer, more user-friendly digital future, and market opportunities flourish


In an era dominated by digital transactions, online interactions, and cloud-based services, the need for robust cybersecurity measures has never been more crucial. For decades, passwords have been the primary defense mechanism for securing our digital lives. This has required us to create distinct, intricate passwords, which we must commit to memory (or refer to a long-hand copy) and adhere to the frequent ritual of changing them. Yet, the increasing complexity of password requirements in recent years reflects our recognition that they are vulnerable to ever-evolving cyber threats.

Within enterprise and consumer accounts, the primary vulnerability most cyber-attacks exploit is weak passwords. Microsoft’s corporate vice president and chief information security officer, Bret Arsenault, once stated, “Hackers don’t break in; they log in.”

The data supports this assertion. Findings from a 2020 World Economic Forum study indicated that 80% of security breaches in that year were executed via weak and stolen passwords. Another report published in 2023 revealed that in the previous year, stolen identity incidents persistently led to extensive breaches, laying bare 1.5 billion user records and inflicting an average financial toll on businesses of $9.4 million per breach. Compromising just one authorized identity belonging to an employee within an organization can result in a significant breach that impacts millions of people.

A New Era of Authentication

To address these issues, companies are incorporating strategies such as embracing a Zero Trust framework—mandatory authentication for anyone attempting to access the network—and deploying passwordless authentication to thwart attacks targeting traditional password-based systems. At its core, passwordless authentication replaces passwords with more secure and user-friendly verification methods, each with its strengths:

  • Biometric authentication utilizes the distinct biological traits of individuals, such as fingerprints, iris scans, facial or voice recognition, and even behavior patterns—such as typing speed—to verify one’s identity. Biometrics provide a highly secure and convenient means of authentication, as they are more difficult to replicate and eliminate the need to remember and manage multiple passwords.
  • Links or access keys entail promptly sending the user a one-time access code or a dedicated link that validates the user's identity. These can be delivered through channels like email, SMS, or a designated secondary application, such as Microsoft Authenticator or physical tokens that store cryptographic information. The main advantage of this approach lies in the temporary validity of the combination used as a password, ensuring that it applies solely to that specific access point at that particular moment.

Optimal security is achieved by employing a layered approach and combining at least two distinct authentication methods, known as 2FA (Two Factor Authentication), which could consist of a unique access code and subsequent verification access through an additional process, like biometrics.

Capitalizing on Opportunities: The Market Potential of Passwordless Security

The adoption of passwordless authentication is gaining momentum, with many corporations recognizing its cybersecurity-boosting potential. Tech giants like Google and Apple are ditching passwords from their products. Moreover, a recent study showed that 92% of organizations have a strategy to transition to passwordless technology, with 95% already implementing a password-free experience. The continuous rise of e-commerce—coupled with national and international digital regulatory directives—compels large enterprises to implement strong authentication measures for customer verification. In essence, the potential market for cybersecurity companies is vast!

Qriar, featured in the 2Future portfolio, stands out as a leader in cybersecurity. In alignment with the prevailing industry shift towards passwordless authentication, Qriar implements solutions from major players—such as IBM, Ping Identity, and CyberArk—and goes beyond by developing robust security strategies. This comprehensive approach is crucial, as effective cybersecurity addresses multiple facets, including the integration of authentication products, to offer protection against password vulnerabilities and address other security challenges that may arise.

The Advantages of Going Passwordless

While some passwordless authentication methods may be more cost-effective and user-friendly, it's advisable to implement them prudently when considering simpler scenarios. For those hesitant about the costs of implementing robust authentication solutions in complex or high-security environments, it's crucial to consider the long-term benefits, especially the reduced long-term costs. The cumulative annual cost becomes substantial when accounting for the resources needed to identify and mitigate password leaks.

An additional advantage businesses gain from integrating passwordless authentication is an enhanced user experience. A swift and hassle-free login process enables employees to redirect the time typically spent on brainstorming or password resets toward more productive endeavors. Passwordless authentication can also positively impact customer experience, lessening the likelihood of abandoned shopping carts and consequently increasing conversion rates.

Companies can gradually shift to a passwordless system by meticulously devising a strategy with a roadmap toward their end goal. Those well-informed about all relevant considerations and standards should be able to craft an effective passwordless journey that prevents identity thefts, enhances digital experiences, safeguards their brand from negative publicity, and, most importantly, protects their data.

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