Microsoft goes passwordless – but what does that really mean?

Whether we’re signing onto our laptops, our Twitter accounts, the bank or online shopping almost everyone requires a username and password, how many do you have? –

We couldn’t even begin to tell you how many we have to keep track of, and this is where people fall into the trap of re-using passwords across multiple accounts – come on fess up, we know you do it!

And whilst it makes remembering a lot easier it also means when that one password is compromised, it opens up access to all other places where you used it too but soon there will be one place you don’t to remember passwords – Microsoft.  

Microsoft says 90 percent of its employees globally sign into corporate systems, resources and apps without a password, a move which has helped the technology giant to become less of a target for attackers and now Microsoft has announced that commercial users can also access passwordless sign in, removing the need for a password from Microsoft Accounts, sounds great right? 

So, here’s what it really means  

The first thing is it doesn’t mean you’ll just have access to your accounts with no security.  Passwordless authentication is a form of multi-factor authentication that replaces the password with a secure alternative. So, your user account could be verified by PIN, device specifications, digital tokens or even fingerprint identification. This type of authentication requires two or more verification factors to sign in, so for example you might sign in with facial recognition and then be sent a PIN. You’ll likely have experienced multi-factor authentication before as it’s already widely used with passwords to complete a sign-on process but here Microsoft is providing an alternative to the traditional password and creating a more secure process.  

Why is it better?  

Well, for a start it’s easier on the user you don’t have to remember a password anymore! And it’s also a lot more secure. Passwordless replaces passwords with two or more verification factors secured and encrypted on your device, these credentials never leave your device meaning the risk of phishing and other attacks are significantly reduced.  

How can you go passwordless? 

As Microsoft launches Windows 11 in just a few weeks’ time it is also rolling out its passwordless sign-in options for all – this means users will be able to sign into Outlook and OneDrive without having to use a password, instead they’ll use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key and SMS or emailed codes. 

To learn more about passwordless sign-on with Microsoft click here.  



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