A Passwordless World

May 2 is Password Day. And while it’s a good milestone to remind users to turn on multi-factor authentication, it can—and should—be so much more.

Rather than improving on the old, we’d ask users to imagine a world where your digital identity is so seamlessly protected that security checks no longer hinder your productivity but instead accelerate it.

At RSA, we’re not just imagining that future—we’re building it. As cybersecurity moves away from traditional password systems, which often create more obstacles than safeguards, RSA is at the forefront of developing a passwordless future. Our approach doesn’t just remove passwords—it enhances security while dramatically improving user convenience, empowering both individuals and enterprises.

So, to mark this Password Day—and to imagine the passwordless future to come—Philip Corriveau, our Head of UX, and Dave Taku, Senior Director of Product Management and User Experience, explored how RSA’s passwordless solutions are specifically designed to address and mitigate common security issues.

Both shared insights into why traditional passwords are antithetical to creating a modern cybersecurity architecture, increase help desks costs, frustrate users, and help threat actors launch phishing and ransomware attacks.

By integrating RSA’s passwordless technologies, we ensure that security isn’t just something organizations have, but something they effortlessly do, transforming it into an invisible, frictionless part of daily operations.

The Benefits of Passwordless Systems and Passkeys

Philip and Dave detailed the ways that passwordless systems and passkeys enhance security, promote overall operational efficiency, and improve user satisfaction:

  • Reducing Cognitive Load: Passwordless solutions significantly decrease the mental effort required to remember and manage multiple complex passwords, enhancing productivity and allowing users to focus more on their core activities rather than on security protocols.
  • Enhanced Security: By leveraging cryptographic methods, passwordless solutions like FIDO passkeys offer a stronger defense against phishing and other cyber threats, providing a more secure environment than traditional password-based systems.
  • Improved User Experience: Passwordless authentication streamlines the login process, offering a seamless and intuitive user experience that eliminates the friction typically associated with password systems.
  • Operational Efficiency: Shifting to passwordless systems reduces the volume of helpdesk calls for password resets, lowering operational costs and freeing up IT resources to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Adaptable Security Levels: Passkeys in particular can provide organizations with greater flexibility to cover different user groups (and address differing risk profiles). Different passkeys—including synced, device-bound, and app-bound devices can be deployed depending on the security needs of specific user scenarios within an organization, ensuring that security measures are appropriately aligned with the sensitivity of the data being accessed.
RSA's Strategic Approach to Passwordless Solutions

We don’t just want to eliminate passwords for the sake of eliminating passwords—the RSA passwordless strategy also aims to enhance user experience and tighten security simultaneously. “Our approach reduces the friction users face and integrates intuitive security measures into their daily tasks,” explains Philip Corriveau. This methodology not only simplifies the user experience but also fortifies the security framework within which enterprises operate.

Key to our strategy is the tailored implementation of passwordless technologies that align with the unique needs of each enterprise. Dave Taku detailed the many passwordless options available to RSA customers, such as synced passkeys and app-level passkeys, each serving different user scenarios and security requirements:

  • Synced Passkeys are designed for user convenience. They allow passkeys to be synchronized across several devices via cloud services. This option is ideal for users who need seamless access across multiple platforms but poses certain risks if the cloud account is compromised.
  • App-Level Passkeys offer enhanced security by binding passkeys to specific applications. This restriction ensures that passkeys cannot be transferred or misused outside their intended environment, making them suitable for safeguarding more sensitive or critical applications.

“By giving administrators the ability to deploy passkeys that align with the roles and risk profiles of individual users within the organization, we enable a configurable security posture,” says Taku. This approach allows for a dynamic adaptation of security measures, providing advanced protection where needed while maintaining user convenience and efficiency elsewhere.

Through such innovations, RSA not only champions the elimination of passwords but also fosters a security culture that is both adaptive and intuitive, ensuring that security mechanisms enhance rather than inhibit business operations.

The Role of FIDO and Future Directions

Through active participation in the FIDO Alliance, RSA is at the forefront of developing standards that enhance the security and usability of passwordless technologies.

Looking ahead, RSA is committed to incorporating advanced technologies like AI and machine learning to refine the adaptability and effectiveness of these authentication methods.

By championing a move beyond passwords, RSA is not just reacting to the current security landscape but actively shaping the future of digital identity protection. Our approach prioritizes both security and usability, paving the way for a future where security is both a facilitator of and a seamless participant in the digital experience.