It is no secret that passwords are not the most reliable authentication method. Password management is getting difficult to control. And no matter how well passwords are managed, they can never be completely safe. Of organizations that suffered cybersecurity data breaches, 60% were due to user password compromise.
There are a number of passwordless authentication solutions that can help eliminate these management headaches and security risks, but the one that stands out is the industry standard known as FIDO2.
What is FIDO2 passwordless authentication
FIDO2 is the most advanced passwordless authentication method. It was developed by the FIDO Alliance, an organization of hundreds of companies formed to set the standard for phishing-resistant authentication across industries and create a more secure future for all. FIDO2 is backed by many big names in tech (Microsoft, Apple, Google and others) with the goal of making passwordless authentication the standard practice for secure logical access. This means that FIDO2 is here to eliminate the need for usernames and passwords entirely while vastly improving the security of connected systems and data.
FIDO2 could be the perfect secure access solution whether the organization seeks to implement passwordless or MFA. It does not require a username or password, effectively eliminating cyberattacks like phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, brute-force attacks and more. FIDO2 uses the well-established technology of asymmetric public key cryptography to authenticate the user.
FIDO2 is different from other authentication technologies because users are not providing any credentials that are saved to the server and can potentially be extracted by an attacker. With FIDO2, authentication relies on a private key which resides locally on the device and is always in the user’s possession.
FIDO2 passwordless advantages
The greatest advantage FIDO2 can provide is that it practically eliminates the opportunity for cyberattacks. Users will also save time and energy not having to remember and constantly enter a lot of different usernames and passwords, leading to reduced sign-in times, increased login success rates, and improved productivity overall.
With FIDO2, platform authenticators are embedded within the user’s smartphones, tablets and laptops. FIDO2 authentication is unlocked via platform-native mechanisms, such as Windows Hello, Touch ID or Face ID. For FIDO2 cross-platform authentication, the user needs a dedicated FIDO2 security key (a USB or NFC key, or a smartphone-based authenticator), which is inserted into a USB port or tapped on a credential reader.
FIDO2 does have some challenges. The adoption is not yet universal, although the choice of FIDO2-enabled browsers and applications is large and growing. The biggest obstacle so far to a wide adoption of FIDO2 in enterprise has been the logistical difficulty and the associated high cost of deploying and managing hardware security keys to the workforce at scale. The recently announced ConvergeIDTM Passwordless Platform promises to solve this problem and accelerate enterprise adoption.
Getting started with FIDO2 authentication
FIDO2 provides strong yet seamless authentication without passwords, thereby eliminating the opportunity for human error leading to cyberattacks as well as the frustration of managing many login credentials. With built-in support on leading browsers and platforms, and the leveraging of technologies that already exist in everyday user devices, FIDO2 is quickly being accepted across the board.
Whether you are using standalone FIDO2 security keys, or are leveraging your existing proximity card or contactless smartcard credentials for FIDO2 using ConvergeID, rf IDEAS has reader options to support any use cases. Check out which form factor and configuration fits into your passwordless authentication strategy: