5 reasons to adopt passwordless authentication in 2021

It’s hard to live in a world dominated by passwords. Reports from the last decade predicted the world would be managing 300 billion passwords by 2020, and there’s a good chance we’ve already surpassed that number, thanks to the widespread adoption of remote work since early last year. This isn’t great news because, for the most part, people haven’t been great at safeguarding passwords. Reports state that in the hacking category, over 80% of all data breaches are caused by stolen or brute-forced credentials, reinforcing the need for a better authentication process. This is exactly why it’s now time to focus on a simpler, safer mechanism called passwordless authentication.

Zoho Vault - Passwordless authentication

What is passwordless authentication?
Any form of authentication that allows users to log in without typing a password can be classified as passwordless authentication. This can be achieved using one-time passwords (OTPs), hardware tokens, authenticator apps, and even the user’s biometrics, which can effectively replace the role of passwords. In addition to this, a key mechanism that businesses can adopt is passwordless single sign-on (SSO). SSO works exceedingly well for enterprises that manage hundreds of applications. Here’s why you should consider passwordless authentication using SSO in 2021.

Increasing need for cloud applications
In November 2020, we surveyed over 200 participants globally and identified that almost three in four users managed anywhere between 10 and 100 apps to perform personal and business tasks, with about 5% using over 100 apps every week. The establishment of remote work as the primary work mode has additionally fueled the need for cloud applications to ensure business continuity. This leads to an increased risk of password fatigue and poor password hygiene as businesses overload workers with new accounts. Passwordless SSO can mitigate such security threats by ensuring hassle-free access to all cloud applications with just a few clicks.

Reliable remote access for employees
Even once things go back to normal, it’s hard to envision a world without remote work. A recent study from IBM echoes this emotion by stating that at least 54% of respondents would like remote work to be their primary work mode. By employing SSO in your enterprise, you can embrace and improve remote work for the long run as it allows you to simplify user onboarding and offboarding, monitor all critical activities performed, and instantly grant or revoke user access.

Improved user experience and productivity
Enterprises often employ applications from different vendors that best fit their business needs. This requires workers to authenticate with all the different services frequently, hampering their overall productivity. With SSO, business admins can configure passwordless authentication for unlimited applications and improve user experience and productivity by collectively saving hundreds of hours spent on password management.

Collective savings on the annual budget
Passwords often come with multiple hidden costs that include the billable hours spent on password resets by customer support personnel and the hours an employee spends without access to an application. Gartner states that almost 40% of all help desk requests are related to password reset, and Forrester reports that large enterprises spend up to $1 million on staffing and infrastructure just to manage these requests. Going passwordless can save you from all of this trouble.

Improve employee password hygiene
While passwordless authentication can solve many of your problems, it’s impossible to eliminate every single password overnight. With SSO, you can encourage your users to remember fewer, strong passwords for critical accounts, improving your organization’s overall password hygiene.

Bottom line: make passwordless authentication your New Year’s resolution
As security experts research the password conundrum, the writing on the wall remains the same: passwords are here to stay. More than three out of five respondents from our survey stated that a hybrid password manager/single sign-on solution like Zoho Vault helped them safely manage their passwords when working remotely. By migrating to Zoho Vault, you can efficiently implement passwordless SSO wherever possible and manage all your business-critical passwords from your secure vault.

By 2022, Gartner predicts that 60% of large and global enterprises, and 90% of midsize enterprises, will implement passwordless methods in more than 50% of use cases — up from 5% in 2018. If you wish to implement passwordless authentication in your enterprise with Zoho Vault, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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