enterprisesecuritymag

Covid-19 has thrown us into an era of accelerated digital transformation, identity management solutions can help

By Fabian Eberle, Co-Founder, Keyless

The pandemic will have a lasting impact on the way we work, study and live - but there are inherent security threats that come with migrating online. Companies that act now to adopt zero-trust solutions will not only survive in a digitally-enabled future, they’ll thrive.

A few months ago, the world was forced to adapt to a new way of living and working. Now, employees work from home, doctors consult patients via Zoom, universities and schools hold classes and exams online and business meetings and conferences take place in the virtual realms.

In other words, the pandemic catapulted us into an era of super-charged transformation. With this, our eyes were opened to a digitally-enabled world, powered by both emerging technologies and smart devices.

A world where we embrace not just smart work, but smart everything - from education to healthcare to business. This radical change could have a lasting positive impact on the ways we live, work and communicate. But how can enterprises ensure that as they make this transition, they do so safely?

Digital transformation is here to stay

Kickstarting digital transformation has the power to ensure business continuity, no matter how severe the disruptions that present themselves are.

"A good digital transformation strategy must start with zero-trust security solutions"

Looking back at the past few months, it’s easy to see that those companies that had a digital strategy, and were ready to implement it, were able to stay upright during this crisis.

Just look to those companies that had their share prices soar during the pandemic – the Amazons and Slacks – those that not only embraced digital transformation a long time ago - but have product offerings and services that cater to a world powered by smart technology.

However, with all this innovation, it’s important to address the inherent security risks that come with spending more of our time and sharing more private information in the most public domain of all - the web.

A good digital transformation strategy must start with zero-trust security solutions. This is where breakthrough identity management and authentication comes into play.

But we need to revolutionise the way we prove who we are

Zero-trust authentication solutions aim to disrupt the way we prove who we are online. These solutions replace ”trust-based authentication methods” - like usernames and passwords, where users are automatically trusted if they  have the password, with more robust methods.

"Keyless is pioneering the world's first zero-knowledge biometric authentication and personal identity management platform"

For years, passwords on their own were enough to prove our identity. However, despite their widespread prevalence, passwords have been continuously proven to be ineffective when it comes to safeguarding accounts, databases and systems.

Band-aid solutions like two-factor authentication via SMS or push-notifications have been sold to companies as a quick fix - but they don’t address the underlying issue, which is that passwords are not only a dying solution, but they facilitate the booming cybercrime industry - which experts expect to grow to $6 trillion this year.

One only needs to look at the recent Zoom breach to grasp the failings of passwords. Half a million compromised passwords are now for sale on the dark web after the platform got hacked in March; and just recently a study revealed only one third of users change their passwords following a data breach.

The sharp increase in breaches and hacks recently involving compromised credentials proves that even when combined with two-factor solutions , passwords still fail to protect private data and corporate systems.

To make things even more complicated, two-factor solutions are too costly and burdensome to roll out at scale - especially to a newly distributed workforce.

We need to replace passwords with biometrics

To ease the transition into a digital future,we need authentication and identity management solutions that allow us to securely verify users online no matter where they are in the world – without passwords.

Keyless is pioneering the world's first zero-knowledge biometric authentication and personal identity management platform.

Keyless replaces passwords with something much harder to replicate, a user’s unique biometrics. Unlike passwords, a user’s biometrics cannot be stolen, faked or phished.

To verify users, Keyless uses advanced privacy-preserving technology to store biometric templates and match the stored templates at the point of authentication. This removes the element of trust altogether - as neither the enterprise nor the user need to trust Keyless - and vice versa. Hence making the solution “zero-trust”.

Zero-trust solutions can be integrated today

While switching out old authentication technology for new solutions like these may seem daunting from a cost and education perspective, doing so is not always the case.

Keyless is designed to be integrated directly with existing security architectures. Once integrated it can be rolled out immediately, as it does not depend on the user or employee owning specific devices. Any user can download the Keyless app for desktop and mobile, all they need is a desktop and mobile with front facing cameras.

Thus, Keyless can be used for remote zero-trust security, allowing enterprises to enhance security measures at scale for a relatively low cost and minimal disruption.

Plus, biometrics enhance the authentication experience, as users don’t need to remember anything or carry anything. This is in stark comparison to passwords and two-factor authentication, which are burdensome and unreliable. Ubiquitous solutions like these offer tangible and lasting immunity from mounting cyber threats.

By changing the ways in which we authenticate and identify those accessing systems remotely, not just online but in the physical world, we can ensure that the transition to a digital future is one where security and privacy are restored, not impeded.

Companies that are serious about digital transformation must reevaluate their security architectures to make room for solutions like these. In doing so, they’ll ensure that they have the right technology to not just survive in a digital world, but flourish.

However companies must not wait to make these changes, those that dawdle will find themselves ten steps behind, struggling to play catch up and in a far worse position when the economy reboots, than those who were bold enough to embrace the future.