Passwordless authentication provides technologies, such as FIDO security keys, FIDO biometrics, and Ping Risk, that eliminate the use of passwords.
Because lost and stolen passwords create security risks, passwordless authentication helps mitigate security risks associated with passwords and removes friction from the authentication process.
The following planning diagram breaks the implementation process apart into separate phases:
- Planning the journey
- Communicating the upcoming changes
- Deciding on authentication methods
- Testing the implementation
- Preparing your help desk for passwordless
- Rolling out the passwordless experience
The most important step to begin discussing and planning with your organization. This helps to define the change that is coming, prepare for communication, and begin working with the internal channels that the enterprise is shifting to passwordless.
As an administrator, understand you are eliminating friction in the authentication process and improving security posture by eliminating passwords. Achieving frictionless authentication requires introducing friction at the start of the process, such as when you're planning change management, training, and implementing a deployment. The end result is a frictionless authentication experience.
When working with many internal teams through your change management processes there will be friction introduced in the beginning until this is complete. This is the part where you introduce more friction before going frictionless.
- Understand that you are aiming to mitigate password risks currently present and introducing a frictionless experience, improved end user experience.
- Take advantage of biometrics and FIDO2 compliant devices.
- Deploy adaptive authentication with passwordless using intelligent behavior
analysis of user activity to determine authentication requirements:
- Low-risk authentication requests
- High-risk authentication requests that require re-authentication or block
When dealing with change management, understand what devices and technologies are available for the organization. Work with the departments that handle inventory and the preferred choice of software used on workstations, and list what is available today for testing. Ensure internal teams are aligned as you prepare for implementation.
The different changes you have planned not only determine your timelines and goals, but affect the tools and strategies that you will need going forward. Team alignment helps leaders identify whether they must provide any additional resources before rolling out passwordless authentication.
What is being used with MFA today?
What is your current inventory?
Test with user groups
When planning this step, understand and determine who are the internal stakeholders including who will own what from the help desk, other departments, vendors, and application teams:
- Communicate timelines.
- Design marketing material and knowledge management articles.
- Establish the guidelines for these changes.
- Documentation and KMs.
- Prepare and train the help desk.
- Create a communication plan to update Workforce changes that are coming in the future.
Decide passwordless methods
As you decide on passwordless methods, keep the following in mind:
- Does your organization use Windows, Apple, Linux, or a combination of those?
- Are you using MFA?
- Ensure backup authentication methods are in place, such as:
- TouchID, FaceID, FIDO2 compliant Security Key
- Phone, tablet, laptop, and similar hardware.
Always register more than one device or technology. Biometric authentication is slightly more secure than a PIN, but if biometric authentication fails, it can be set up to fail back to PIN.
- What adaptive authentication capabilities does your organization use, such as PingOne Protect?
Rethink policies and processes
When you rethink your authentication policies, consolidate them to simplify.
When you rethink procedures, consider:
- Help desk policies
- Lost device policies
- How to test for your use cases
Testing and QA
Before you plan for rollout, make sure you perform sufficient testing on different browsers and operating systems to prevent delays in implementation.
- Take into account third-party implementers for the standard.
Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox might have different requirements and behaviors that you must take into account.
- Involve diverse departments to help choose authentication factors and to test.
- Register a device on different operating systems.
Some devices require updating the operating system. Updating the operating system for security requirements could create a delay with your planned timeline.
- Continue to test whenever browser and operating system updates occur.
As you plan for rollout, consider the following priorities:
- Prevent disrupting business.
- What groups or apps are already using MFA?
- Rollout to end users.
What departments and groups are best-equipped for the first wave?
- Deploy in a small volume, then ramp it up:
- 10 users with 5 or 10 applications
- Increase to 100 users for 10 apps and so on
- Increase to 500 users with 10 apps and so on
As you prepare to onboard individuals with your passwordless authentication experience, consider the following:
- Self-service is the goal.
- Who is your user population?
- What groups are best-equipped to be first adopters?
- What considerations do you need to take into account for global users?
- Not all can use MFA today.
- Might not own smartphones.
- What considerations do you need to take into account for seasonal employees?
- You might not want to give them a security key.
- You might need a policy for these groups.
- Are you using MFA?
- What are those devices?
- Is more than one registered?
- How many of those would fall into biometric, security keys, Windows Hello, or others?
The following diagram shows the onboarding cycle.
- A new hire receives their Mac or Windows laptop. Include a FIDO2 compliant key for back up.
- The user undergoes verification for the first time through PingOne Verify and a temporary password.
- The user registers their devices, adding more than one device.
- The user manages their devices, including adding device and reporting lost or stolen devices.
- The user moves into a more secure, frictionless experience through passwordless authentication.
How are you handling lost or stolen devices? The following can all help you plan for what to do about these devices.
Remember to have more than one device registered. For example, have an iPhone, iPad, and a laptop registered.
- User verification.
- PingID mobile application.
- What's easier to get back on network?
FIDO keys should be the second-to-last resort.
- HelpDesk can come into play through using a temporary method.
The PingID desktop application with a lost or stolen Yubikey or phone should be your last resort.