Online Authentication procedures have come a long way, from hashed and salted encryptions to timed-OTPs, security tokens and various other forms of 2FA (two-factor authentication). With the advancement of technology and the ever-growing inconvenience of passwords, FIDO Alliance, an industry organisation dedicated to completely eradicating the world’s reliance on passwords, has developed an innovative solution for passwordless authentication.
The FIDO Alliance has developed digital credentials known as Passkeys that enable a one-step, highly secure and friction-free login experience by leveraging the user`s biometrics (Face ID, Fingerprint etc) as a form of identity proofing, replacing passwords completely! Passkeys have been heavily backed by tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft, creating a competitive stir and raising the bar for the authentication industry.
Now the question arises - How are Passkeys different from other forms of authentication protocols like 2FA? Will the adoption of Passkeys really bring significant business benefits or will it be just a passing trend?
2FA also known as 2-Factor Authentication is a comparatively newer and more secure version of authentication developed to overcome the vulnerabilities of passwords. 2FA standards have been developed to tackle the problems associated with password hacking, compromised accounts, data breach and several other cybersecurity issues. 2-Factor Authentication allows user to verify their identity and claim ownership of an account through a 2-step verification procedure - a primary password-based authentication followed by another layer of security in the form of TOTP, security tokens, email/phone number verification, answering personal questions set by the user etc. 2-Factor Authentication arises from and falls under the traditional concept of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), a security process that typically utilises a combination of Passwords and additional security chains to provide enhanced security to users.
Although 2FA provides double-layered security to users, it comes with a set of challenges. Great consumer experience constitutes the backbone that ensures the overall growth of a company, in terms of business expansion, revenue generation and building a vast network of satisfied clients who keep preferring the company for its service. 2-Factor Authentication tends to create a hindrance in this aspect as OTPs can be really frustrating for users. Users have to wait 2-3 minutes to receive an OTP, manually retype it and wait for the completion of verification. In some cases, users might not receive the code within time due to a network issue, resulting in a failed login attempt. In a report by Ping Identity Corporation, it has been revealed that over 48% of US consumers tend to forget the answer to their security questions. Furthermore, 63% of consumers are likely to leave an online service for a competitor providing easier login methods.
In several cases, the users experience a hard time gaining access to their accounts owing to the fact that their device is either not currently in their possession or they have lost it. Users who have resorted to security tokens as a verification parameter has complained of insecure networks and missing tokens. Email-based verification and Push Notifications have been a huge challenge for users, especially when they don’t have access to a stable network, leading to added frustration among users. Hopping between multiple apps to complete an authentication process can tend to be a cumbersome task for users. It becomes apparent that there are several challenges associated with existing 2FA protocols in terms of usability.
Speaking from the point of view of Business Managers, the cumulative cost of sending multiple OTP SMS to the users, although trivial, can pile up to become an additional expense. According to Twilio, the cost of sending an OTP-based SMS is up to $0.02/SMS, based on the type of SMS that has been sent (OTP via text, email or pictorial OTP). Although the cost may seem trivial, these amounts pile up and become a significant expense for companies with diverse clientele. In order to improve the signup volume and cut down several added expenses, it's high time that businesses think beyond passwords and 2-factor Authentication and embrace a secure, frictionless form of authentication.
With the ongoing challenges and threats posed by the traditional forms of authentication, going passwordless became the need of the hour. FIDO Alliance, along with several technology giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft have come up with a revolutionary standard for authentication that does not require the involvement of passwords at all. Popularly known as Passwordless Authentication, FIDO has launched a set of digital credentials known as Passkeys. Passkeys are designed according to the WebAuthn standards and utilize Public Key Cryptography to ensure foolproof security to the user accounts.
Passwordless Authentication is an evolutionary upgradation of the conventional multi-factor authentication standards, utilizing the user’s biometric information as the central authentication parameter. Passkeys utilize a user’s biometric identity as a parameter for secure and risk-free login. Users can now log in to any FIDO-compliant website/mobile application by providing a simple face scan, or fingerprint scan as proof of their identity. Passkeys are highly secure and can be linked to the user’s iCloud Keychain and are available on other devices (such as iPad and MacBook) that belong to the user. Passkeys enable highly secure login within seconds and contribute to a great customer experience.
Passkeys can drastically solve all security and business-related challenges for users and business professionals by promoting a smooth login experience. Passkeys are impenetrable to hackers as the verification is based on the presence of two keys - a public key (available across the database) and a private key (available only with the user’s personal device). Login can only be completed once both the keys are verified against each other and found to be a match!
Along with millions of dollars saved on the prevention of data breaches, businesses can also cut additional costs on OTP SMS-es and provide a completely risk-free user-provider ecosystem for their client base, resulting in higher signup volumes and a huge expansion of loyal and satisfied customers. Not only that, sales conversion via Passwordless Authentication can be increased by up to 50%! The future is passwordless and it's time for users and companies to board the Passkeys bandwagon.
Interested to know how you can implement Passkeys for your business and a huge chunk of money along the way? SoundAuth can help you get a smooth head start into the world of Passkeys. To know more, sign up and become a part of our waitlist or visit us at SoundAuth.com.