3 Reasons to Consider Passwordless Single Sign-On

By Brennan Whitfield

October 27, 2021

How often do you use the same password for your online accounts? For memorization’s sake, it is definitely tempting to reuse a password for more than one digital account. This is especially true if you are convinced that it is a strong enough password to not be cracked easily. However, just one data breach incident could allow access to the entirety of your internet activity. Yet there is one method of user authentication that does away with passwords as a whole, providing an additional layer of protection for accounts on specific platforms. This method is known as passwordless single sign-on.

What is passwordless single sign-on?

Single sign-on (SSO) software is a system of authentication which allows online users to log in to multiple digital platforms with the use of one set of credentials during one session. After a user initially inputs their login credentials to access a platform using an SSO system, an authentication token is attached to the information the user provides. This token is used by the system to identify them in the future and allow access. From then on, the user will not have to re-enter their credentials, as the system will recognize them from the presence of their token and automatically allow entry. 

Based on the way an SSO system is configured, some SSO services will require the use of a password for the initial login process, while other SSO services will not require such. An SSO service that does require the use of a password will require a different method of authentication, such as a phone number, a temporary login code, or biometrics. This marks the difference between password-authenticated SSO and passwordless SSO.

Passwordless SSO systems reduce password fatigue, as well as prevent harm from various cyberattacks by doing away with passwords altogether. Many platforms still require a username and password for account entry. Removing the password component from even just one account reduces memorization efforts and reduces the risk of unauthorized access to other password-authenticated accounts which all may utilize the same password.

Why consider passwordless single sign-on?

1. Protects Users During External Data Breaches

A password is a key used for entry, meaning with no key in the first place, it would be impossible to enter a restricted area. Passwordless SSO provides greater security to users by truly only allowing access to those with the appropriate means. This aspect of passwordless SSO especially protects users during external data breaches (cyberattacks originating from outside sources).

Brute force password attacks and spyware infiltration become nullified as there are no password credentials available to use or collect. Similarly, in the case of data leak incidents, there would be no stored passwords to expose for use by an outside source. Users who utilize the same password amongst multiple platform accounts become protected in these situations, with all related accounts remaining secure and having no need for password resets.

 

2. Saves Time for Users and Organizations

Passwordless SSO not only creates a more secure login experience, but also a faster one. By negating the need to create and remember new passwords for each online account, logging in with no password greatly reduces login time and eliminates the likelihood of password fatigue for a user.

Additionally, less user authentication issues result in a reduction of incoming traffic to the IT staff of a platform. As noted by Ayehu, up to 40% of IT help desk calls are related to password reset issues. Implementing a passwordless SSO system saves significant time for both platform users and organizations which choose to utilize this system.

 

3. Lowers IT Costs

In conjunction with the above reason, less IT traffic related to password resets results in less unnecessary costs being contributed to such issue. IT calls concerning password resets can cost organizations an average of $70 per call and up $1 million annually. Lessened IT issues related to passwords significantly reduces costs for IT staff and conserve costs for other, more relevant IT issues.

What Next?

Reconsidering using passwords for your online accounts? Passwordless SSO ensures a secure, time-saving, and cost-saving method of authentication for users to access online platforms. This type of authentication serves as an effective addition for organizations looking to improve their stance on cybersecurity and foster a trustworthy digital environment for all types of users. A viable solution that supports a passwordless SSO system is humanID, an anonymous login software.

Instead of using passwords, the humanID login screen asks users only once for their telephone number and converts this number into a non-reversible and non-trackable hash. The input telephone number is then promptly disposed of and uses the hash attached to this process in order to identify the user in the system. Now for future logins, the user only has to press one button to access the system, with no password use needed. In addition, no other personal information such as name, e-mail, or a username is required from the user. 

With the increasing amount of internet traffic over the past five years comes increased frequency in cybercrimes alongside. It is paramount today that an online user’s identity and personal activity is protected when using digital platforms. By not using a password to access a user’s account, passwordless SSO authentication serves as the logical solution to protecting both the integrity of organizations and the information of platform users.

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