Back to work, but are passwords redundant?

10th January 2020
Anna Flockett

Millions of workers returning to work after Christmas and New Year will have to remember an average of 191 passwords and many of these will have been forgotten over the break. It comes as no surprise then that employees may not be instantly productive as they waste time calling IT helpdesks to help them login. This ‘password fatigue’ is expensive, costing companies $70 per individual password reset according to authentication platform Veridium. 

Jason Tooley, Veridium’s chief revenue officer explained that the annual costs of resetting passwords can run up to $1.9 million, based on an enterprise with 10,000 employees – with over half of employees (56%) using passwords they know to be insecure and only 14% creating a unique password for every account. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 60% of large businesses and almost all medium-sized companies will have cut their dependence on passwords by half.

Considering 81% of all data breaches are from compromised passwords, companies need to turn to passwordless solutions and take a strategic approach to implement multifactor authentication based on biometrics.

Tooley said: “Businesses moving from passwords to using biometric solutions could reduce support calls by up to 50% and vastly improve productivity, bringing each business cost savings of up to $2.2m per annum. Eliminating the frequent need to remember or manage complicated password procedures inevitably saves a lot of time, and biometrics provide an efficient, frictionless alternative.

“Passwordless authentication is reinventing workforce engagement. On top of freeing up IT departments’ time to be strategic, it equips workers with an improved user experience and allows better control of data access from third parties. This transition away from passwords also helps with HR induction processes and prevents data fraud. 

“Furthermore, integrating a passwordless approach also eliminates the risk of phishing attacks and stolen identities associated with easily compromised passwords. This is indispensable for businesses, as data breaches on average cost companies $8 million dollars, and often irreparable reputational damage.

“Companies should start to plan their approach to reducing reliance on passwords now, making authentication via biometrics a crucial part of their digital transformation journey, improving both user experience and security. Transitioning to passwordless is now being viewed as a business differentiator.

“Organisations can leverage a mobile multi factor approach, which incorporates device possession, digital identity through biometrics, and implicit artificial intelligence to ensure a high level of security whilst improving user experience. This will allow organisations to achieve a continuous authentication strategy that fulfils both digital and cyber security requirements - at any time, not just festive lulls like Christmas.”

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