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Password authentication is not only insecure, but it leads to poor consumer experiences and is costly for organizations to maintain. As far as customer authentication is concerned, there are three main problems: friction, security, and legacy MFA solutions. Beyond Identity's Secure Customers provides a passwordless MFA authentication solution that protects customers against account takeover fraud by eliminating passwords, one-time codes, push notifications, and second devices on native and web applications.

1 Introduction

Over the last decade, organizations have found it necessary to store data and information about business partners, suppliers, and customers in their own enterprise identity management systems. Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions are designed to meet evolving technical requirements for businesses and other organizations that deal directly with consumers and citizens. However, CIAM systems generally feature weak password-based authentication, but modern solutions can also support social logins and other stronger authentication methods.

In order to increase security, comply with new regional and industry-specific regulations, and improve customer experiences, organizations are adopting CIAM solutions. CIAM systems must be able to manage many millions of identities, and process potentially billions of logins and other transactions per day. Nonetheless, the problem with existing solutions of customer authentication is that they do not eliminate the root cause of friction and security risk - the password.

The practice of typing passwords to access applications and services has become a regular part of the daily routine of millions of users. Since the early days of the internet, however, the use of passwords has introduced a number of weaknesses and security challenges. In many organizations, users have a tendency to keep their passwords simple, easy to remember, and reuse them across applications, which puts the user and the overall organization's security at risk.

As a result, many businesses and organizations are increasingly looking for better solutions for authenticating those users. Although the introduction of multi-factor authentication (MFA) has often been regarded as a remedy to security issues, the adoption rate of MFA solutions on the customer side has been surprisingly slow. On top of that, legacy MFA that uses passwords as a first factor are vulnerable to social engineering, SIM swaps, and man-in-the-middle attacks. Since attackers are continuously finding new ways to bypass MFAs of all types, it is important to understand the pitfalls of legacy MFA and how important it is to choose the right solution for your organization.

This proliferation of threats has led the U.S. government to recently introduce a memorandum on how to achieve a zero trust architecture strategy. According to the document, agencies and organizations should integrate and enforce MFA across applications involving authenticated access to federal systems by agency staff, contractors, customers, and partners. Furthermore, the memorandum places significant emphasis on stronger enterprise identity and access controls, including the use of strong authentication and phishing-resistant MFA while specifically calling out the vulnerabilities of one-time codes and push notifications against phishing attacks.

In recent years, however, passwordless authentication has proven to be a very simple and safe alternative. Passwordless authentication solutions should provide organizations with a smooth and frictionless user experience, but not at the expense of security. Passwordless solutions vary in the technology they leverage to remove the password - some do not fully eliminate the password as it is still used for recovery while others allow for complete password elimination. It is therefore important for organizations to choose the right passwordless solution that meets their unique challenges and needs around user experience, security and risk tolerance, and technology stack.

By eliminating passwords and phishable factors, Beyond Identity offers Secure Customers, which is a secure and frictionless authentication solution. Its invisible passwordless MFA enables companies to secure access to applications and critical data with dynamic risk-based access decisions, make credential-based attacks and account takeover fraud extremely difficult to execute by fully eliminating the password, and dramatically improve the user experience with no need for one-time passcodes (OTP), push notification, and second devices.

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