It has been over 61 years since the birth of the modern computer password in 1950. Ever since, passwords have revolutionized the way people interact with online services and digital accounts, becoming a universally accepted authentication mechanism. However, today in 2022, it’s the weak and stolen passwords that cause over 61% of all data breaches worldwide. Numerous password dumps are now readily available on the dark web for as little as $15, helping attackers force entry into sensitive business networks. In order to avoid these password-related threats, businesses everywhere are now taking the passwordless route.
Gartner predicts 60% of large-scale enterprises and 90% of small and medium-sized businesses will implement passwordless methods by the end of 2022. By adopting passwordless authentication, businesses can limit the number of passwords their teams manage and protect themselves from password-based threats. If your business has yet to adopt passwordless authentication, this blog post can help you get started.
What is passwordless authentication?
Any authentication method that allows a user to log in to an account without a password is called passwordless authentication. Most major technology providers, such as Microsoft and Zoho, offer passwordless authentication for their users by replacing passwords with biometrics (touch ID, face ID), time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs), and authenticator apps like Windows Hello and Zoho OneAuth.
Single sign-on (SSO) is one of the many technologies that make passwordless authentication possible and is the one that most enterprises employ. Using single sign-on, business admins can allow users to safely access any number of cloud applications without needing to enter passwords manually. This drastically restricts the number of passwords users manage, making online life a lot safer.
If your enterprise is yet to explore passwordless SSO, here are some tips to help you get started.
Identify all your business passwords
The first step towards going passwordless is identifying every business account managed by your organization. Obtain an exhaustive list of accounts owned by different teams, determine the users that currently access these accounts, and validate their access privileges accordingly. By doing so, you can eliminate unaudited access and prevent credential or privilege misuse in the future.
If your business already employs a password manager like Zoho Vault, you will find these details in your organization’s account. If not, you might find it helpful to adopt a password manager to organize all your passwords in one place before going passwordless.
Find services that support passwordless SSO
Passwordless SSO is powered by protocols such Kerberos and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) that facilitate the exchange of authentication data between the service provider (the cloud applications your users access) and the identity provider (the SSO portal they use to log in). Most modern applications support SAML-based single sign-on, but be sure to verify if your application does too. If you’re using Zoho Vault to perform this operation, you can add a “supports SSO” tag to quickly filter your passwords.
Configure passwordless SSO
Now that you have the list of your passwords that support SSO, configure passwordless SSO for all your business applications using your identity provider. This will be a one-time setup for admins who can then grant access to users based on their access privileges. Users will now be able to launch applications without having to enter a password.
Things to remember
While most applications support single sign-on, a few crucial applications might not. For such applications, you can look into enabling passwordless authentication using biometrics, TOTPs, or authenticator apps. Some password managers like Zoho Vault offer the option to safely store and share TOTP codes with other users, helping teams collaborate efficiently without the need to manage a static password.
Can your enterprise entirely become passwordless in 2022?
Sadly, the answer is still no. There are still some applications that support neither SSO nor other types of passwordless authentication. Legacy servers and some offline accounts might not have economical passwordless support in the near future. For such cases, we firmly recommend that you set strong, unique passwords for each account and store them in a secure password manager. Password managers help teams collaborate safely, audit every user’s access, and restrict credential leakage.
Bottom line: Passwords and passwordless go hand in hand
It’s crucial to protect access to your accounts either with passwordless authentication or with safe password management—or both. To reduce the burden on your IT teams and yearly budget, it’s ideal to find a service that supports passwordless authentication as well as secure password management.
Solutions like Zoho Vault support passwordless SSO for unlimited cloud applications, give admins complete control of their business passwords, allow admins to enforce strong password policies, and offer many other fine-grained restrictions. Start your 14-day free trial today or connect with our agents to see how Zoho Vault can your business become passwordless in 2022.