Top Passwordless Methods in 2023

It’s no secret that the world of SaaS is going passwordless. But what are the best options you should consider for your application and how do you actually get started? As a passwordless pioneer, Frontegg is here to help you clear up all questions and cover the top passwordless methods you should consider in 2023. Let’s get started. 

Why Passwordless Authentication?

Before diving into the list of top passwordless methods, it’s important to understand why passwordless authentication is gaining popularity today. While methods like single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) help bolster security, they are still vulnerable due to one main reason – the human factor. Weak passwords, unsecured machines, and sensitive data exposure being the top reasons.

As per a recent Allied Market Research report, the passwordless market, valued at $12.8 billion in 2021, is expected to cross the $40 billion mark by 2031. As a matter of fact, 80% of Frontegg’s customers have already chosen this way of going about things.

Passwordless authentication methods introduce numerous benefits:

  • Improved user experience – Passwordless significantly improves the user experience by allowing users to sign up, onboard, and log into their SaaS applications with minimal hiccups. No more forgotten passwords.
  • Less pressure on IT and support teams – Less dependence on passwords means that users are opening fewer password reset tickets. This by itself is a big advantage, allowing IT and support teams to become more productive.
  • Budget friendly – Storing and maintaining passwords is not cheap. Top passwordless solutions reduce expenses since less resources are required. There are also less remediation costs involved when breaches do occur.

You must also consider the cons before making a decision and implementing a passwordless authentication solution in your ecosystem. The dependence on external third-parties and a lack of global standards are just a couple of them.

Read More: Passwordless Authentication for SaaS

Top Passwordless Methods in 2023

Let’s dive into the top passwordless methods you should consider today:

  1. One-Time Password (OTP) / One-Time Code (OTC)

The generic One-Time Password has become a passwordless essential due to its effectiveness and ease-of-use. As the name suggests, the user receives the unique password (an automatically generated alphanumeric or numeric character string) via a text message (SMS) or an email, which has to be entered precisely to complete the authentication process. The OTP or OTC can be used only once.

  1. TOTP (Time-Based One-Time Password)

The time-based one-time password is a common OTP variation used in sensitive use cases like banking apps or government-based services. The difference here is that the OTP is valid only for a pre-specified time range, usually a minute or two. TOTPs are more immune to phishing attacks, as the hacker needs to proxy the credentials in real time before the password’s validity expires.

  1. HMAC-based One-Time Password (HOTP)

HMAC (Hash-based Message Authentication Code) can also be used to make OTPs stronger. The HOTP is essentially an event-based OTP that is based on an internal counter. Every validated HOTP request moves the counter incrementally and creates a new sync between the server and the OTP generator. One example of HOTP implementation is Yubiko’s Yubikey, a commonly used OTP generator.

4. Magic Links

Known by many as a futureproof authentication method, magic links are becoming increasingly popular in B2B settings. This technique is almost exclusive to email users, who need to enter the email ID that is linked to the account. They are then sent an email with a link that can be used to access the application or website. The SDK simply integrates with the application to make everything work.

Here is how a typical magic link flow looks like:

  • The user tries to access a SaaS app or a web service
  • The user is prompted to input a valid email address ID 
  • The SaaS service generates a token and created a magic link 
  • The magic link is dispatched to the provided email address ID
  • The user clicks on the magic link
  • The SaaS service gets the query at the end point of the magic link
  • The user can start using the SaaS service

5. Unique Authenticators

Unique authenticators make use of push notifications via third-party authentication apps (Google Authenticator is one of the most commonly used ones). Once the admin configures the authentication app with the SaaS app or service, a secret key is issued to the user via a secure channel. The users then just have to fire up their app of choice to verify their identity. These authenticators are all MFA-compatible.

6. Social Logins

Social logins have gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to the massive rise in social media usage, especially platforms such as Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The third-party app basically acts as an identity provider, The SaaS app redirects the login attempt to the external social media platform, where the existing cookie is checked, Once validated, an access token is issued.

7. Biometric Authentication

You also have a wide range of biometric authentication techniques, with face recognition, eye (retina) scanners, and fingerprint readers being the most common ones. These methods are proving to be the most secure ones because they leverage the most unique human characteristics that are very hard to duplicate. It’s no coincidence that most smartphones have at least one of these methods in place.

Read More: Integrate Biometrics with Your SaaS Apps

Passwordless is Much More Than a Passing Trend

Password hacking incidents are piling up (Verizon recently reported that almost 50% of all data breaches are initiated via stolen credentials), maintaining them is becoming a big headache for IT teams, and reset requests are annoying support reps across all industries. This only means that passwordless is going to gain more and more traction as the SaaS universe continues to expand.

Now let’s debunk the three big misconceptions about passwordless solutions.

  • Passwordless authentication is not so secure

On the contrary, using passwords is a really risky thing. The numbers don’t lie. Nordpass reports that the typical B2B user today has to remember and work with around 100 passwords today, which leads us to the next worrying trend. Almost 90% of users admit to using the same password for multiple accounts. How can the old method be more secure than a 2FA-enabled passwordless flow? It can’t.

  • Implementing passwordless solutions is a complicated process

Technically speaking, there is work involved when it comes to shutting down password databases and moving all users towards passwordless solutions. But when done gradually (introduce it as a feature initially) and with an end-to-end user management platform, it’s not really that complicated. Make sure that the platform of your choice offers multiple options so that you don’t get locked into one method.

  • The users may not like the shift to passwordless solutions

The use of passwords negatively impacts the user experience . People often forget their passwords, something that results in more open support tickets. Companies often migrate password databases, which creates more headaches for the devs. It’s a lose-lose situation, both internally and externally. Passwordless solutions actually reduce friction and bolster the user experience significantly. 

Ladies and gents, the future belongs to passwordless solutions.

Going Passwordless with Frontegg

More and more SaaS companies are understanding the need for user experience, as this is what separates great applications from the good ones. Passwordless authentication is often the missing link when it comes to creating a smooth and seamless onboarding experience. This is before we talk about security and data privacy, something that is much improved by eliminating passwords.

Frontegg is pioneering the shift to passwordless from the very beginning. With OTCs, magic links, and social logins on offer, you just need a few clicks to get started. Eliminating passwords from your ecosystem is no longer a complicated process. All you need to do is implement Frontegg with a few LoCs, configure the provider, and watch the magic unfold via a centralized and user-friendly interface.

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