Passwordless technology is here to stay, according to the latest research from Bitwarden, the Santa Barabara, Calif.-based provider of open source password manager for businesses and individuals. It’s 2023 Password Decisions Survey polled 800 IT decision makers across a range of industries, showing that businesses are enthusiastic about passwordless technology and its perceived security benefits and improved user experience (UX).
According to the survey, roughly half of respondents deploy or have plans to deploy passwordless technology. Of that percentage, 66% have 1-2 user groups or multiple teams using passwordless technology and 13% have deployed to their entire organization.
Post-Pandemic Security Challenges
Businesses are confronting numerous post-pandemic security challenges: increased employee turnover, a hybrid workforce relying on multiple devices in many different locations, and a seemingly unending threat from cybercriminals. In light of these challenges, over three-fourths (79%) of IT decision makers want employees to use the same enterprise-wide password manager. At least 60% cite security as the most important attribute of a good password manager, followed by the integration of 2FA (56%) and ease-of-use (40%).
With hybrid and remote work here to stay for many employees, the lines between security habits at work and at home have blurred. The majority (71%) of employees are ‘very likely’ to use a password manager with a complementary family account to give their family added security at home, if this was offered by their company.
Security Concerns Influencing Business Decisions
Sixty-percent of respondents report their organization has experienced a cyberattack, up from 54% last year. In response, a large majority (80%) now have a ransomware mitigation strategy in place, an increase from 75% last year. Cyber insurance is also becoming commonplace, with three-fourths (75%) having the insurance. Of the percentage that do, 65% were required to show they offer cyber awareness training for employees, 64% that they deploy MFA, and 61% that they offer a company-wide password manager.
Bad habits coexist alongside best practices
Almost all respondents (92%) use 2FA in the workplace, up from 88% last year. However, nearly that same percentage also reuse passwords (90%). While most (84%) use password managers, they also manage passwords with documents on their computer (54%) or with their memory (45%). Respondents also continue to rely on insecure methods to share passwords, such as shared online documents (38%) and email (41%). And despite their security-centric role, 32% admit to engaging in ‘shadow IT’ practices and around half (49%) of respondents say their organization has struggled with employee shadow IT practices.
The transition to passwordless technology
When asked why their organization has not made the transition to passwordless technology, 39% of respondents claim end users are reluctant to make the switch and 49% say the applications they’re using are not designed to go passwordless. Of those that have made the switch, 51% are or would consider implementing facial, fingerprint, or voice passwordless authentication. Half (47%) say they are very familiar with the FIDO2 passwordless authentication standard and consider it important to their company’s passwordless experience.
“Our survey shows businesses are looking beyond passwords and desire new technologies that reflect passwordless workflows, which shouldn’t come as a surprise,” said Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell, in a statement. “While strong and unique passwords are highly effective at safeguarding data, weak or re-used passwords that are not managed by an end-to-end encrypted password manager present serious vulnerabilities.”