Cisco’s Duo Security has published a new report that shows that many businesses are starting to improve their security practices as they transition to a hybrid workforce. The 2021 Trusted Access Report specifically highlighted the growing popularity of biometric authentication, which is up 48 percent over the course of the past year.
Some of that has to do with the increasing availability of biometric devices. Seventy-one percent of the mobile phones being used by Duo’s customers now support some form of biometric authentication, and employees are becoming more comfortable using those sensors as an alternative to passwords in the workplace. By the same token, the number of people using the WebAuthn standard has quintupled since it became an official W3C standard in 2019. WebAuthn was developed by the FIDO Alliance, and allows people to use a biometric that is stored locally (rather than in a database) to gain access to various services and applications.
The adoption rate for biometric technologies eclipsed the rate for multi-factor authentication, which went up 39 percent in 2021. Even so, that trend still indicates that people are trying to close up some of the security gaps that were exposed when people started working remotely. Fraud attempts more than doubled in the early days of the transition, and the rate has remained high for the duration of the pandemic.
Thankfully, most organizations are planning to move to a passwordless security framework, at least according to a Duo survey of IT professionals. Those professionals noted that compromised credentials are one of the biggest problems in the current environment, and that stricter user and device verification policies will help to limit their exposure.
“Enterprises are moving toward new, more effective ways of handling access control,” said Cisco Global Advisory CISO Dave Lewis. “Democratizing security can go a long way in enabling hybrid workers to focus on their core competencies without sacrificing security.”
The 2021 Duo report is based on Duo’s analysis of data gathered from its customer base. The company processes 800 million authentication events on a monthly basis, and pulled data from 400,000 applications and more than 36 million individual devices. Duo itself also launched its own passwordless WebAuthn solution for hybrid workspaces earlier this year.
October 18, 2021 – by Eric Weiss