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Fady Younes

UAE firms plan to implement passwordless strategy

DUBAI, October 20, 2021

UAE enterprises are taking steps to move away from passwords and adopting low-friction authentication methods to protect the hybrid workforce, said a new report released at Gitex by Cisco’s Duo Security, a leading multi-factor authentication MFA and secure access solution.

 While the total number of Duo MFA authentications increased 39% in the past year, biometric authentications grew even faster at 48%, according to the 2021 Duo Trusted Access Report.

The report analyses data from more than 36 million devices, over 400,000 unique applications and roughly 800 million monthly authentications from across Duo’s global customer base. It reveals how organizations across all industries are enabling work from anywhere, on any device, by implementing controls to ensure secure access to applications.

Biometrics were enabled on more than 71% of Duo customer mobile phones globally, illustrating a rise in adoption driven by users’ growing acceptance of non-traditional authentication methods and the accessibility of passwordless hardware that they already carry in their pockets.

Further eliminating the need for users to retain a large cache of authentication passwords, Duo Security also saw a fivefold increase in Web Authentication (WebAuthn) usage since April 2019 when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) first published the open standard. WebAuthn enables biometrics to be securely stored and validated locally on the device, as opposed to a centralized database.

Duo Security has been a champion of passwordless technology, driving WebAuthn’s ratification as a member of the W3C working group and launching its infrastructure agnostic passwordless authentication product in March 2021.

Moving away from passwords will significantly improve the login experience for the vast majority of users – in turn leading to stronger security. More than half of the UAE organizations (52%) are planning to implement a passwordless strategy, according to the new survey of global IT decision makers conducted as part of the Trusted Access Report.

Fifty-five per cent of the UAE respondents said security issues related to compromised credentials are the most frustrating or concerning aspect of dealing with passwords in their environment.

“We’ve now reached the point where the user experience is a security control in and of itself,” said Fady Younes, Cybersecurity Director, Cisco Middle East and Africa. “Enterprises in the UAE are moving toward new, more effective ways of handling access control and seeing in action how democratizing security can go a long way in enabling hybrid workers to focus on their core competencies without sacrificing security.”

The importance of user-centric security that incorporates employee work patterns to keep resources accessible and out of reach for malicious actors is reinforced by the recent Cisco Hybrid Work Index. The report showed that while there was a surge in VPN and secure remote access at the onset of the pandemic, fraudulent access attempts grew 2.4 times during the same time period and remains elevated 18 months later.

Due to these threats, organizations are setting stricter policies to verify the trust of users and devices before granting access to applications. The number of authentication failures due to out-of-date devices increased 33% between 2020 and 2021. – TradeArabia News Service




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