As it turns out, rumors of the death of the password have been greatly exaggerated—at least until now. Innovations, like biometrics, and tools, like Microsoft Windows Hello, have begun replacing password authentication with more secure, convenient ways to authenticate users. And now, with RSA’s recent announcement integrating Windows Hello and RSA SecurID® Access, we’re seeing proximity authentication bring us closer than ever to making the password a quaint relic—because all a user needs to do to unlock a Microsoft Windows 10 desktop is have an authenticating mobile device nearby. Here’s what I think we can look forward to as integrations like this one unfold.
1. A Password-Free Gateway to Every Important Asset
One of the things that makes integrating proximity authentication with Hello such an exciting development is that it’s about access at the key point where users access everything else they need: the desktop. Proximity authentication there can ultimately provide the same access across applications that a network password and single sign-on (SSO) typically combine to provide—only without having to enter a password, change it every 60-90 days or perform other cumbersome tasks that password-based access requires.
2. Making Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) More Seamless
Authentication mechanisms that require minimal effort on the user’s part—biometrics, for example— have made multi-factor authentication increasingly easier and more convenient. Now, proximity authentication is poised to take ease of use up another level by introducing a factor that provides a seamless login experience with just a quick swipe of a phone screen to log in, and no conscious effort at all to log back in—just device proximity to the desktop. That’s great, but it’s just the warmup: the biggest payoff comes with continuous authentication.
3. Continuous Authentication: Security That Goes With You Everywhere
As part of a robust multi-factor authentication solution, proximity authentication sets the stage for continuous authentication, in which authentication is a constant behind-the-scenes process, rather than a task to be repeated every time a user needs to log back in during a desktop session. Instead, users can be automatically logged out and back in, based on proximity of their mobile devices. That means stronger security at the gateway and less effort for users.
Integrations like the one between RSA SecurID proximity authentication and Microsoft Windows Hello are part of a larger RSA initiative to expand its technology ecosystem to eliminate identity risk by transforming secure access. Learn more about how modern authentication is helping make access pervasive, connected and continuous in the RSA eBook User Authentication Trends 2017: Blurred Boundaries and New Methods.
Author: Tony Karam
Category: RSA Point of View
Keywords: Identity & Access Management, Identity Governance and Access, Multi-Factor Authentication