The demise of passwords has long been on the agenda and thanks to the rapid digitization COVID-19 has ushered in, the future of passwordless authentication seems to have arrived.
The pandemic caused a massive shift in reliance on connectivity this past year and managing cybersecurity risks while keeping a high level of security protection on corporate networks is all the more critical.
“A lot of sensitive information is out of the organization network. This is like a heaven for the attackers. And this is why it becomes even more important to solve authentication issues,” Dr. Shimrit Tzur-David, CTO and co-founder of cybersecurity company Secret Double Octopus, tells NoCamels.
Although the semantics may lead someone to think otherwise, passwordless authentication is actually more secure than the need for passwords.
And while not a new concept, the passwordless authentication sector got a jolt of media attention this week when Transmit Security announced it had raised a whopping $543 million in a Series A funding — dubbed the largest Series A round in cybersecurity history — to help the world go passwordless.
“Passwordless authentication is so much more than ensuring customers can easily and seamlessly access their information, their accounts and make purchases – it’s about revolutionizing the way companies interact with their customers. By eliminating passwords, businesses can immediately reduce churn and cart abandonment and provide superior security for personal data,” Transmit Security CEO and co-founder Mickey Boodaei said in a press statement.
Transmit Security’s funding round was led by Insight Partners and General Atlantic, with additional investment from Cyberstarts, Geodesic, SYN Ventures, Vintage, and Artisanal Ventures.
“Our customers, whether they are in the retail, banking, financial, telecommunications or automotive sectors, understand that providing an optimized identity experience is a multimillion dollar challenge. With this latest round of funding from premier partners, we can significantly expand our reach to help rid the world of passwords,” said Boodaei.
Weak passwords account for more than 80 percent of all data breaches, according to a TechCrunch report.
But it’s not just ransom-seeking hackers who are a danger to company budgets.
Tzur-David says companies lose millions of dollars annually to resetting passwords.
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“In order to be secure, you need to have complicated passwords, you have to renew them often, and you need to make sure they’re not shared between accounts. You need to help users reset those complicated passwords because they forget them and are not allowed to write them down,” says Tzur-David.
“To a reset password costs an organization about $25. Each employee changes a password on average three times a year. So, if we have a customer with 200,000 employees, they’ll spend more than $5 million a year just for password resets,” she says. “So, even after paying our services, they will still be left with money in their pockets.”
Secret Double Octopus, has been pushing the idea for passwordless authentication since 2015.
Of course, the passwordless sector is brimming with solutions to rid the tech world of passwords. But now the big enterprises are hopping on board, too. Google, Microsoft, and Apple all recently announced new methods of passwordless authentication.
But it is the Israeli firm that recently achieved a “Best-in Class” ranking in a new evaluation conducted by the industry analyst firm, Aite Group.
“Having reached the “best-in-class” position in Aite is the result of years of hard work and an understanding of the current and future authentication needs of real-world enterprise clients,” Raz Rafaeli, co-founder and CEO of Secret Double Octopus, said in a statement. “Secret Double Octopus sees its mission to deliver enterprise-grade authentication security while keeping a seamless and universal user experience.”
Tzur-David says that while convincing the market that passwordless authentication was the way to go when the company first started, this ranking proves that the company is “doing something correct and we’re solving the right problem. We’re doing something good for the market, for the organizations, for the employees.”
The record-breaking Transmit Security funding round shows that “investors really believe in this market,” says Tzur-David. “It’s great news for us knowing that investors believe in this market. And, of course, it actually defines the potential in this market.”
Asked to look into her proverbial crystal ball, Tzur-David says the world is almost ready to fully accept passwordless authentication.
“I believe that in a few years from now the common way to authenticate will be passwordless,” says Tzur-David. “It’s almost there. We’re almost there.”
Viva Sarah Press is a journalist and speaker. She writes and talks about the creativity and innovation taking place in Israel and beyond. www.vivaspress.com