FIDO Authentication Standards Are Not the Future, and Are Already Here

FIDO Authentication, security

Many Organizations are considering the FIDO authentication standards to deliver robust and straightforward authentication. Though it will remove the burden of security from end-users, it will require an update on devices, infrastructure, and applications.

With compromised credentials reaching billions, the prospect of not having to rely on usernames and passwords is appealing. Microsoft’s announcement of passwordless sign-in for Windows OS was a major one. Earlier this year, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) authorized the WebAuthn API that enables website logins without passwords. And Google too certified Android devices for password-free logins. These are just a few examples of the buzz of passwordless authentication, and they have one thing in common, the FIDO Alliance.

FIDO (Fast ID Online) is an open industry association on a self-claimed mission to deliver ‘simpler, stronger authentication,’ by placing authentication standards. The objective is to reduce the reliance on passwords. The industry has welcomed the idea of a passwordless future based on FIDO standard. Organizations are eager to move past the legacy identity solutions but planning and preparation are critical for successful implementation. With industry leaders including CISOs, CTOs, CSOs reimagining their identity and access management postures, a deliberate approach to FIDO authentication seems to be the best course of action.

This era of digital transformation allows the workforce to become dynamic, diverse and even remote but demands frictionless and straightforward ways to access resources. Also, new unprecedented identity and digital risks as identities are more scattered than ever, which creates multiple points of access for organizations to secure.

Since the FIDO Alliance is an open-standards organization, technology providers are quickly adapting to its open authentication standards. His makes the decision of when to adopt FIDO complex. The initial decisions must be made on the degree at which the organizations support the technology and standards to go passwordless. The issue extends till the ‘last mile’ of back-end applications. It is crucial to consider that technologies can bridge the last mile and provide a successful unified FIDO server approach throughout the organization.

It is also crucial to make the distinction between FIDO standards and the devices they support. The FIDO Alliance supports a lot of FIDO-certified devices and continues to grow with companies introducing authenticators. Since certified devices can be anything from mobile authenticators to hardware devices and wearables, adopting the FIDO approach needs a strategy around the required authenticator options.

However, the FIDO Alliance is currently being considered as a solid foundation to move into a passwordless world. But organizations need to think beyond ‘FIDO is the answer’ for getting the highest benefits. With an increasing number of technology providers supporting FIDO standards, and with more types of FIDO-compliant authenticators becoming available, the enterprises will have to take more considerations into account to strategically adopt FIDO authentication. A significant amount of time, planning and preparing is recommended to spend before beginning the transition to passwordless authentication.

To succeed with FIDO, it is essential to be ready, and now is the time to assess the organization’s authentication needs and the way they are evolving.

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Meeta Ramnani is the Senior Editor with OnDot Media. She writes about technologies including AI, IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain across various industries with a focus on Digital Transformation. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries four years of experience in mainstream print media where she worked as a correspondent with The Times Group and Sakal Media Group in Pune.