Could 2020 see the death of the password?

With millions of workers returning to work after Christmas and New Year, each one will have to remember an average of 27 passwords. Many of these will have been forgotten over the break, causing employees to not be instantly productive as they waste time calling IT helpdesks to help them login.

According to Veridium, this ‘password fatigue’ is expensive, costing companies $70 per individual password reset. 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, Veridium believes that companies need to turn to passwordless solutions and take a strategic approach to implementing multi-factor authentication based on biometrics.

“Businesses moving from passwords to using biometric solutions could reduce support calls by up to 50 per cent and vastly improve productivity, bringing each business cost savings of up to $2.2 million 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,” said Tooley.

“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.”

Tooley continued: “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 cybersecurity requirements – at any time, not just festive lulls like Christmas.”

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