Is it the end of passwords?

The majority of workers are ready to ditch the password in favour of more modern security solutions, such as biometrics. This is according to a new Okta document based on a poll of more than 4,000 workers across the UK, France and the Netherlands. In 2018, four in ten UK businesses experienced a security breach or attack – and the average time for a breach to be discovered was 191 days. Breaches of this nature lead to extensive costs from lost business, reputational damage and regulatory fines. However, the biggest risk to any business is its own people. People, against their better judgement, often click on suspect e-mail attachments, connect to an unsafe network or unwittingly share a username and/or password. It’s passwords that seem to be one of the main reasons why businesses are breached, with more than three quarters of respondents to Okta’s poll admitting using weak or insecure passwords – and even worse methods to help remember them. The poll found that this number rises to 86% for people aged between 18 and 34. These problems range from the use of a single password across multiple accounts or using the most commonly used passwords. This makes life much easier for would-be cybercriminals, to storing passwords on mobile phones or, worse still, noting them down on a bit of paper in plain view. Not only does this represent a huge security risk – it’s also non-compliant with stringent GDPR regulations, with many non-digital, long-held practises such as using post-it notes to remember passwords frequently overlooked by businesses looking to mitigate risk. Okta also identified an additional password-related problem it says is ‘flying under the radar’, and that’s password-induced anxiety. Almost two thirds in the poll said they are stressed over forgetting their password, ultimately affecting their emotional health. Modern technology can be used to create a password-less workplace – removing the dangers associated with having people select, secure and remember a password, and no longer burdening those whose job might have little or nothing to do with IT security. The latest computer firmware and software often lack sufficient security and trustability to satisfy security requirements – and threats will exploit any infrastructure or system vulnerabilities that are at the core of your operations. That’s why SCC works with customers every day to help avoid security breaches, protect data and build the right security culture.

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