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Passwordless authentication for your customers: Why it matters and how to implement in your product

Passwordless authentication is a key component of a simple and secure SaaS login. As applications grow in number and sophistication, so will the threats to cybersecurity. The companies who are first to implement passwordless solutions will be best positioned to win the trust of security-conscious customers while reducing the liability of operating unsecured logins. 

The future of user logins is passwordless

As passwords grow in vulnerability, there’s no denying that the future is passwordless. And in an industry where customer experience and security can make or break a product, SaaS companies and other web applications can’t afford to fall behind. Passwordless authentication creates the safest possible environment for your users. And the best usability as well.  

When implementing any solution, it’s important to put users at the forefront of design. Passwordless authentication with FIDO technology provides an ideal solution that eliminates password fatigue before and behind the login screen – your users and customers will thank you for offering them such an easy way to use your services. Furthermore, no passwords for your customers to remember means no passwords for your IT team to manage. You can happily forget “forgot my password” functionality and know that your users will be able to access your platform with ease. 

Plus, cutting out passwords solves a host of potential security breaches, from credential stuffing and brute-force attacks to phishing and flaws in hash logic. Again, it’s a win-win: both your customers and security team have fewer bad actors to worry about. 

The FIDO Alliance, created in 2012 by companies like Google, Amazon, and PayPal among others, develops and promotes passwordless protocols which achieve these goals. Let’s take a closer look at the three main benefits of implementing passwordless solutions built on FIDO protocols...  

Your customers will love it - it’s frictionless!

The average internet user has at least 150 online accounts that require a password - a figure that will undoubtedly continue to rise. Even with password managers - don’t get us started on this added entry point for bad actors - forgotten login details lock out some 37% of users and employees from their accounts, causing unnecessary friction and delays.

In a world where seamless customer experience should beis a given, passwords inevitably result in huge headaches. By removing the need for your users to remember and update their passwords for your platform, they will enjoy an improved user experience and avoid unnecessary pains when using your product. A seamless login experience, secured through functionality like biometrics (FaceID or TouchID),, magic links, push notifications etc., can remove the frustration of passwords entirely and increase the use of your product.

The onboarding experience is key to the way customers perceive your brand and your services. The better the onboarding, the higher chance that customers will become committed to using your service or product. This is why customers who have a positive experience are twice more likely to recommend your company to others. The most effective way to boost your chances of getting more loyal customers is by a simpler onboarding. Passwordless authentication offers that and will lead most likely to higher conversion rates.

It's super secure

Security comes first and foremost. Passwordless authentication via protocols such as FIDO UAF & FIDO U2F, employ public key cryptography for authentication. This ensures your users an entirely secure point of entry, fortified by the use of digital signatures. For example, a user can use the biometric capabilities of their smartphone or laptop (a face scan or a fingerprint) to locally unlock access to the private key on their authenticator, thereby creating the necessary digital signature. Once signed, their identity is verified and they can access the service. With public key cryptography, a user’s private key is never transmitted over a potentially insecure channel (i.e. the internet).

Passwordless authentication with FIDO2 and WebAuthn empowers users to actively contribute to keeping their data secure. This means they automatically receive better protection from replay, malware are other man-in-the-middle attacks. With passwordless solutions SaaS companies can reduce fraud and prevent phishing or account takeover.

Not storing any passwords in your database is a huge USP for your platform. Because you cannot lose what you don`t have. Passwordless authentication drastically reduces the impact of possible data breaches as well. 

Reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) 

Doing away with passwords isn’t just about offering a frictionless platform login experience and reducing security vulnerabilities. It also allows companies to save resources by saving money and decreasing back office administrations due to “password forgotten”. Passwords are a contributor to the total cost of ownership - a term that describes all the costs of product ownership.This is due to the increased IT resources for both system protection and password management. 

Passwordless authentication also replaces costly SMS to-factor authentication or extra hardware. Itallows SaaS companies to stay one step ahead on security, useability and better future-proof their systems overall. This approach lowers the total cost of ownership for IT by reducing the amount of password setups and resets, and enables the team to focus on core tasks.

How to seamlessly implement passwordless solutions  

Are you ready to transition to passwordless authentication with FIDO2 and WebAuthn?What now? Here’s where Hanko comes in. Hanko provides SaaS companies all the tools and know-how to secure potentially vulnerable systems while giving customers a better way to login.

Implementing passwordless authentication can be seen as complicated when reviewing roadmaps. However, this does not need to be the case. Developer SDKs and authentication APIs like Hanko allow for easy passworless solutions. With establishing trust in passwordless authentication being at the centre of passwordless’ mission, it’s important for SaaS providers to know that simplifying authentication processes doesn’t mean making them less secure. Meanwhile, SaaS logins should function similarly to the ways in which users already interact with their devices, like looking into a camera. Eventually, passwordless won’t be a new standard – it’ll just be the standard. Plus building authentication solutions yourself can take up a lot of time. Using FIDO-as-a-service solutions like Hanko which have an API and developer documentation at hand can help you reduce resources and implement authentication without the big hassle.

Switching to passwordless authentication required dealing with countless clients and protocols. Hanko brings together technologies that range from biometrics (fingerprint and iris scanners, voice and facial recognition) to security tokens and smart cards. Sure, you could build an entire cybersecurity infrastructure yourself, but why would you? FIDO has developed all the protocols – tried and tested by some of the world’s largest companies – on which companies can build industry-leading SaaS products. 

Hanko’s Authentication API comes with the demo code, example implementations, best practices, and detailed instructions required to build a robust FIDO-certified passwordless SaaS login infrastructure. Your tech team will love how easy it is to implement while everyone else can continue to focus on building superior software products. And since your customers already employ the technologies – from biometric authentication like Face ID and fingerprint to security keys – for everyday tasks like unlocking their smartphone or logging in to online banking, they won’t need to change their habits. Because the last thing you want to introduce is a learning curve.  

Ready to roll out passwordless authentication? Hanko ensures you beat the crowd without the time, money, and stress of starting from scratch. For almost all SaaS companies, middleware solutions like Hanko are a far safer, more cost-effective, and smoother way to embrace a passwordless future.

Learn more or book a demo with us.

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