Passwordless authentication is any way in which a user’s identity can be verified without the need for a password.

Unlike other methods of authentication, passwordless authentication doesn’t require a knowledge based secret to access a device or database. It is often confused with multi-factor authentication (MFA) as they both use a variety of authentication factors, but unlike MFA passwordless uses just one highly secure factor rather than a few.

Instead of traditional passwords made of characters or numbers, passwordless authentication works by verifying a user’s identity through one of two factors.

Possession factor

This is an object that can uniquely identify the user, and can be anything from a one-time generated password sent to your email or mobile device, to something like a hardware token.

Inherent factor

Otherwise known as something only the user has, like voice recognition, face recognition or their fingerprint.

What can passwordless security prevent?

Passwordless authentication makes it much harder for types of cyber attacks to happen. Here are just a few examples:

Shoulder surfing

Pretty much as it sounds, shoulder surfing is when someone literally peers over a person’s shoulder as they type in their passwords onto their device.

Brute force attack

This involves repeated login attempts using combinations of letters, numbers and symbols to guess a password.

Spear phishing

This type of cyber attack involves sending fraudulent emails to users under the guise of being from a trustworthy source, with the aim of extracting sensitive information like passwords and other forms of personal data.

Benefits of passwordless authentication

Tighter security

User controlled passwords can be incredibly susceptible to vulnerability, due to being able to be shared and users can repeat similar passwords on multiple platforms and devices. 

Better user experience (UX)

Have you ever wasted time trying to remember passwords to different devices? Passwordless improves user experience as it means no more reliance on memory, making the process more efficient.

Time saving

Traditional passwords require constant maintenance by IT companies, removing problems with passwords frees up engineers time and allows them to work more efficiently on higher priority tasks and tickets.

Is passwordless authentication safe?

It’s natural to be concerned about our data and privacy, and as we have been used to using passwords for so long it’s natural to associate them with a high level of security.

By itself, passwordless authentication doesn’t automatically solve problems associated with passwords.

People worry that using channels like email or text to send a code or link is unsafe because that communication channel could be compromised. A compromised email account however could also be used to reset a traditional password, meaning passwordless doesn’t have any additional risks. 

No matter the authentication type, the most important thing is for organisations to make sure they are storing user data correctly.

So, is passwordless authentication right for you and your organisation?

The truth of the matter is, humans weren’t built to remember hundreds of different passwords for every device and platform they need to access. This means that passwordless authentication is becoming the preferred option for many organisations. 

As a strategic IT partner, we can help you decide if passwordless authentication is the right move for your business. Having the help and expertise of an experienced IT provider such as Team Metalogic will make the process smooth and we’ll provide ongoing training and support to make sure you get the most out of your software.

We’re Team Metalogic

We’re Team Metalogic, a managed IT support provider offering outsourced IT services to SMEs across the UK. With a proven track record, with extensive experience and a full portfolio of industry accreditations and certifications.

Our stress-free solutions don’t complicate things, in fact, they improve efficiency and save money. We want to improve your IT services and security. Want support and security for your business and data?

Contact us today.