Passwords: Make Way for Proximity Authentication

Smartphones have made us more connected than ever, but the increased use of apps and various smart devices comes with a multitude of new login passwords, tokens, and other security requirements to keep up with

Some people rely on password managers to retain all this information, and not only does this approach pose a security risk but having to look up username and password combinations is a tedious task that slows us down from accessing our important information.

Thankfully, recent innovations like biometrics are beginning to replace traditional password protections with more convenient and secure ways to authenticate users. Biometric technology has begun to shift user authentication for consumer-facing applications and may even set the stage for corporate adoption.

Through advances like proximity authentication, we’re closer than ever to realizing the “death of the password.” Proximity authentication is an emerging form of two-step authentication that simply requires your secondary device to be within range in order to log you in and out of the host device. As we pave the way to continuous authentication – security that goes with you everywhere – here are three ways proximity authentication is transforming access in today’s landscape.

Password-Free Entry

Today’s organizations combine a network password and single sign-on (SSO) to provide access across applications, but the downfall is that users need to manually enter a password and regularly change it in order to maintain the same level of security. Integrating proximity authentication is all about creating a secure access point at the front door– without having to perform the manual tasks required by the two-step method described above. For most organizations, proximity authentication can best be integrated at the desktop. With Microsoft Windows Hello, for example, organizations can use the proximity of our smartphones as an authentication factor, so when I return to my desk with my smartphone in hand I am automatically signed back into Windows.

Streamlining Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Proximity authentication provides a seamless login experience – no manual password-entry required, just device proximity to the desktop or other “hub” selected by the organization. This simplified version of MFA is just one development in the world of authentication, but there’s even more to look forward to as additional integrations unfold.

Creating a Path to Continuous Authentication

The ultimate goal of many identity and access management initiatives is to make authentication a process that is virtually transparent to end users. Continuous authentication offers increased security at the access point and less effort for users, which is a win-win for all parties involved. So long to the days of manually logging in and out of desktop sessions between uses. Before we know it, we won’t need to manually lock our computers before we step away from our desks. By walking away with our smartphone or wearable, we’ll be logged out automatically.

Integrations like proximity authentication aim to eliminate identity risk by transforming secure access. Modern authentication is helping make access connected and continuous. I for one, look forward to a future in which authentication is nearly invisible! Explore these integrations for your organization and you may discover the user-friendly and reliable authentication solution at the intersection of security and convenience.

About the Author

Tony Karam is Senior Consultant for Identity Product Marketing at RSA Security. RSA solutions are designed to effectively detect and respond to advanced attacks; manage user identities and access; and reduce business risk, fraud and cybercrime. RSA protects millions of users worldwide and works with more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500.